How Would NASCAR Handle A "Sterling" Situation
Before you read this I would like to state that I in no way believe that all
NASCAR fans are racist AND that I know racism exists
amongst every race, creed, color and religion.
Last weekend, TMZ released a private conversation between LA Clippers owner, Donald Sterling and his Mistress V. Stiviano. We were only allowed to hear 15 minutes of a 45 minute conversation where clearly Stiviano is baiting Sterling to give his views on race. What sparked the conversation was clear. Ms. Stiviano posted a picture of herself on Instagram with Magic Johnson. Johnson happens to be a black man. Sterling was very upset and asked that she not post pictures of herself with anyone other than lily white peeps. Oh, and don’t bring any black people to the games as well. She is allowed to do whatever she wants ...privately. The outcry from some NBA players, fans, and SOME owners were crystal clear. Something had to be done and NBA Commissioner David Silver knew he would have to make the biggest decision of his career. He banned Sterling from any Clippers related events for life and gave him the maximum fine of 2.5 million dollars. He also asked that the Governing Board of the NBA Owners move quickly and vote Sterling out as owner of The Clippers.
My question is this. How would NASCAR fans handle this situation? Would there be such an outcry for justice if the said owner was Jack Roush, Richard Childress or Rick Hendrick? Non-NASCAR fans would most likely act in the same vain as they did with Sterling. I’m afraid of what the answer to my question would be ...and that is sad.
One of the many statements I saw on the internet was, “This was a private conversation and what a man says in the privacy of his own home should be sacred.” I agree whole heartedly however, somehow this was made public and there was nothing that could stop this hemorrhage. The NBA had to react because of the FANS and because of the players themselves that were deeply hurt by what was said. I am not a black woman so I can not in any way say that I empathize with this situation. However, I am a human being and I was mortified at what I was listening to. My family was not raised racist and I stayed that way. You make a choice to hate or not every single day. What scares me is that I am not 100% convinced that a majority of NASCAR fans would ask for something, if anything, to be done in this same situation. There would be an exact opposite outcry possibly. The screaming of freedom of speech and privacy laws , etc., with Sarah Palin showing up at racetracks promising she would make all of this right in her own special little way, You Betcha! What some people fail to understand is that Silver based his decision on the Constitution of by-laws made up by the NBA. If you want to know more, please by all means click here and read where his decision is warranted.
NASCAR has been here before and rather recently in fact. The sad part is I did not even remember this until I was researching for this article. That shows how HUGE the NON out cry and horror of the situation was with some NASCAR fans. They were more concerned of what the damn word was. The decision made by NASCAR to indefinitely suspend driver Jeremy Clements in Feb 2013 for using a racial slur while talking to an MTV reporter in regards to Johanna Long's trailer lasted two races. NASCAR used their Code of Conduct, as defined in Section 7-5 of the sanctioning body's rulebook, as well as Section 12-1, actions detrimental to stock car racing to make their decision. Two races.
NASCAR is well aware that they already have a stigma attached to them. That stigma is based on its roots. The Good Ol' Boys from the South. Boys that slung their moonshine and raised their confederate flags. They have done what they can with their minority program. They were quick with the Clements situation. They seem to already have a pulse of what could happen to sponsorship if anything like the Sterling case were to happen. Again, it is some of the fans that may be the issue.
Let’s play a game : A BIG TIME NASCAR owner is having dinner with someone he thinks he can trust. He says some racist remarks and the said person has this conversation on tape. It is leaked. TMZ immediately without hesitation plasters it up on their site and within seconds it is HUGE NEWS. “NASCAR Owner of all white race team is racist!” (THIS IS A GAME NOT FACT).
What would your reaction be? What would you want NASCAR to do when everyone out there in the world has heard such remarks, and no matter in what capacity? His presence at any race would be a distraction to his team and to NASCAR itself. Is this fair? Regardless of how I feel about race I have to say that I believe in freedom of speech yet I am also SMART enough to know that anything I say could be used against me at any time and by anyone. I would hope all the fans would agree. I’m saddened that I may be wrong. People are allowed to have their opinions and they are allowed to be racist. When I heard what Sterling said I was not surprised at all. An old white guy? DUH! So there, I am racist against a lot of old white guys that never learned to love all and hate none.
I would like to state that I am in NO way stating that all NASCAR fans are racist in any way. In fact it is upsetting that many are called Redneck Racists. That is just as wrong in my opinion. I am stating that some fans would use Freedom of Speech/ Privacy Laws in order to DEFER from the real issue ONCE made public. Former NBA player Kareem Abdul Jabar wrote the best piece in regards to all of this. I ask that you read it and share any comments that you may have below.