NASCAR has fined 2 drivers for speaking out on a subject and has kept tight-lipped as to who or what. The fine was instigate because whatever was said was detrimental to the image of the sport. I’d like to contend it was probably just an honest statement from a driver about a situation. But now, we know that NASCAR who tours their openness with the fans policy, would rather have their drivers lie to us than tell the truth. Blah.
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Before we (OK, before I) go all huffy on NASCAR clamping down on a few drivers who speak their mind, I need to remind you that ALL professional sports have rules in place to keep the athlete from speaking out against the sport.
I’ve been a professional bowler since the early 90′s and one of the rules of that sport is we cannot criticize the lane conditions, the house or the league. The same can be said of other sports like the NBA or NFL where they quietly clamp down on athletes who speak their mind, but could damage the brand that the sport represents.
Yet by fining 2 drivers for speaking their minds and not fessing as to who, pretty much goes against the grain of their open policy with the fans.
Plus if you dwell on it, the drivers aren’t saying anything different from what some fans are already thinking… and hearing them say some things helps some fans feel not only justified, but then, they feel connected to their driver knowing they’re on the same page as they are.
Instead, we get to keep our critical opinions to ourselves, feel isolated from the thrust of the sport and drivers have to take the most constructive use of words to explain an answer that is not accurate. In other words, NASCAR wants the drivers to lie to the fans.
Yet again, I’m a bit surprised and disappointed in this newest action from NASCAR. But the question is, whom did they fine?
At the time of my writing this article, I am not privy to who was fined, but I can conjecture a bit.
Some weeks ago, Denny Hamlin spoke out about how in the middle part of a NASCAR race, the drivers are just turning laps and biding their time.
There’s always been an unspoken policy about talking about such practices and I have to wonder if NASCAR didn’t dwell on the issue long enough to say, you know what, we don’t like that this has been said.
That statement indicates to us that there isn’t any real racing taking place in the section of the race that bores the living crap out of everyone. It’s the reason many fans question the length of races and ask for shortened events.
If they want to improve their TV ratings, they should take a peek at that idea!
The Brad Keselowski & Carl Edwards Fender spat.
Many drivers have spoken to the issue and I do remember someone saying that NASCAR may not take issue with them until someone gets killed. Though I’m not sure if that was a driver that said that or a crew member…
But I question if one of the many drivers who spoke out on the subject when asked, werent taken to task on what they’ve said?
Maybe it’s something Ryan Newman said recently:
“I don”t think NASCAR has taken care of the situation. What is that for Carl, his second probation this year? I don’t know what probation actually means anymore. So, yeah, when we used to get probation for the season, and then when you crash somebody and put them upside down and they almost get killed, you get probation for three races. I don’t quite understand that.”
“Going out there and purposely crashing somebody; turning right or turning left just to crash ‘em on purpose, whether you’re winning the race or not, is not at all ‘Have at it, Boys’. Some people have thought of manslaughter or attempted manslaughter, but that’s closer to what it is. That’s not ‘Have at it, Boys.’”
“We should paint up a No. 99 or No. 88 Chevy Impala for Carl to go race demolition derbies with, if that’s the case. Brad just needs to go up there, lay one across his lip, and everything will be fine.”
I bet by the end of media day on Friday at Pocono Raceway, we’ll know more about this closed-mouth policy and I’m betting, who exactly found themselves dinged.