By admin | July 27, 2010
By Richard Allen
A source has told AP reporter Jenna Fryer that NASCAR has in recent weeks fined at least two of its star competitors for making comments deemed detrimental to the sport and the NASCAR brand. At least one of those fines was reported to have been $50,000.
This type action is nothing new. For that matter, the salaries of several NASCAR officials have probably been paid over the years from Tony Stewart’s past penalties. And other well known drivers have felt the sting of the NASCAR fine machine as well.
And in the sport’s world, virtually every major league has fined players, coaches and owners for detrimental actions or words. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, seemingly needs a separate account to pay the NBA when they deem he has done wrong.
The real question here is not why the fines were issued. The real question is why was everything kept so quiet. Now, NASCAR is a private entity so it isn’t like they have violated the ‘Sunshine Act’ or anythin. But it would seem that in an industry solely driven by fan support, it would be imperative to keep the fans apprised of such goings on.
In my opinion, the hush-hush was applied to this matter in the hopes that those watching NASCAR would not be made aware of its issues. If that’s the case, I have news for the folks in Daytona Beach. The cat has long been out of that bag.
Could it be that NASCAR thinks we have not noticed the vacancies in the grandstands over the past few years? Do they think that if no one told us we would not be aware that the racing has been dull on many occasions? Perhaps, if not told by those on the inside, we would not have been able to figure out that late race debris cautions have been as predictable as summer heat in Georgia. And, we might not have noticed that those exciting race endings are contrived, made for SportsCenter, events.
NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston explains the sanctioning body’s position as one of protecting the brand and controlling actions deemed detrimental to the sport. “It is the sanctioning body’s obligation on behalf of the industry and our fans to protect the sport’s brand,” he said. “Any action taken by NASCAR has nothing to do with the drivers expressing an opinion - it’s focused on actions or comments that materially damage the sport.”
In other words, they were fined for telling the truth if they were not expressing opinions.
Poston also added that drivers had been sufficiently warned. “We have specifically discussed this in meetings with teams, drivers and stakeholders.”
Why were these ‘stakeholders’ warned? Oh yes, because NASCAR is aware of all the issues mentioned above.
So then, why was everything kept so secret? Well, the only answer is that they do not believe those of us watching are smart enough to figure out what we are watching. And as long as no one tells, we’ll remain clueless.
Ivory towers must be a wonderful thing. I wonder the going rate for them is in Daytona Beach these days?
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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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