By admin | May 18, 2010
By Richard Allen
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Graham Mullen dismissed each of Jeremy Mayfield’s claims in his suit against NASCAR. The ruling came barely more than one year after the driver’s suspension by the sanctioning body after a positive drug test.
“Plaintiffs (Mayfield) agreed to release Defendants from all claims arising under a negligence theory or otherwise; Plaintiffs thereby waived their right to pursue their claims for defamation, unfair and deceptive trade practices, breach of contract, and negligence,” said Mullen in his order. “Plaintiffs also failed to allege facts to support each of their claims. … Plaintiffs claims are hereby dismissed.”
No doubt, that statement left many around the country feeling a bit deflated. However, I am not so sure most of those who were disappointed by the ruling were necessarily upset because Mayfield had lost, but rather, because NASCAR had won.
Back on July 20th of last year I wrote a piece titled, ‘NASCAR haters may have chosen the wrong hero in Mayfield’ (http://racingwithrich.com/?p=884) in which I said that the outcome which was announced today was inevitable. I point that out not to show that I was right but to outline my reasons for the premise of this piece.
In that posting I stated that there has for some time been a growing discontent by many with NASCAR and those who feel so strongly against the organization were willing to adopt anyone who would dare to take them on as their hero. Many of those same “Mayfield supporters” were quite pleased when the driver decided to take his cause into the mud pit and begin a name calling, innuendo laced smear campaign against NASCAR Chairman Brian France.
While there were quite a few hoots and hollers from the grandstand of public opinion when Mayfield made insinuations in regard to France’s private life, anyone with even a little knowledge of the legal system knows those type of things tend to be counter productive in a court case.
I believe those who cheered for such allegations were aware of that but were more interested in seeing Brian France’s name in the mud than they were in seeing Mayfield win his case.
There were no doubt some out there who truly were concerned about the plight of Jeremy Mayfield. However, I believe there were more out there who were interested in seeing NASCAR get taken down a notch and they did not care who it was that would do it. Those who feel that way will move on to their next hero in a while.
Just as I stated back in July of last year, I am not going to say that Mayfield did or did not use banned drugs. I am going to say that either way he was not going to be that guy who would bring NASCAR down a notch. Today, there are more than a few out there who are displeased with that.
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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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