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Drivers private lives are indeed noteworthy

By admin | June 30, 2011

By Richard Allen

Since Jeff Gluck of posted a piece on Tuesday( ) regarding the marital issues of driver Kurt Busch there has been a raging debate on virtually every form of media and social networking site as to the relevance of the personal matters of those involved in NASCAR racing.

The issue has proven quite divisive among those who have joined in the debate. On one side of the issue are those who say that the marital troubles, or bliss, of those involved in the sport are of no concern to anyone other the those directly involved because it has no bearing on the sport itself. On the other side are those who claim that to not mention it when a driver stands in victory lane or anywhere else with a woman known not to be his wife is like not mentioning the ‘elephant in the room’.

My stance on the matter is this. These people gave up a certain amount of privacy when they took on the lifestyle they have not only accepted but spent much of their lives seeking. Once a person involves himself in a profession such as sports, acting or music in which he makes a living from other people investing a substantial portion of their lives to give him a lifestyle most can only dream of he is subject to a certain degree of openness.

Some may say this is an invasion of privacy, an intrusion. But is it not an intrusion to ask you to spend significant amounts of money and time to watch a race car driver do his ‘job’? And more, drivers are dependant on you going out and buying products they push in order for them to maintain a lifestyle of private jets, mansions and million dollar motor coaches.

Sorry NASCAR drivers, actors and musicians, but you owe more than just a stage performance to those who have given you so much.

But do note that in my headline I said their private lives are noteworthy, especially when the subject matter in question is out in the open. Reporting of divorces or marriages or any other off track matter is worth mentioing because people want to know about these things but matters on the track still should come first and foremost.

It would be one thing if Gluck or any other reporter had stalked Busch to some out of the way bar on the outskirts of Charlotte to find him sharing a table with someone other than his wife. But in this case, the ‘other woman’ was at a racetrack in plain sight of thousands in attendance and millions on television. More than a few people noticed.

To say that off the track matters are not worthy of print is ridiculous. That would be like a Dodgers beat writer not mentioning the divorce of the McCourts because it is not happening between the chalk lines. By that standard, the speeding violation of Kyle Busch should never have been reported because it may intrude on his private life. Stories of Michael Annett’s drunk driving charge were useless because he was not on a track when it happened. The rash of baby births among NASCAR families of late should be ignored unless the babies are riding in the race car with their dads.

Of course the legal separation of a famous race car driver is noteworthy, especially when the new ‘Miss Right’ is standing right beside the driver in victory lane. People aren’t stupid. They notice things such as this and want to know the story.

Topics: Articles |

13 Responses to “Drivers private lives are indeed noteworthy”

  1. zhills fan Says:
    July 1st, 2011 at 5:46 am

    Once you are in the limelight nothing is private.

  2. Josie Says:
    July 1st, 2011 at 6:38 am

    I guess as long as speculation, slander, and downright stalking is not involved in the reporting it is justified. However, I do believe there is a vast difference between reporting a speeding or drinking incident and reporting a divorce or family matter. The latter, once reported, is not fair game unless criminal charges are involved. So let’s move on and let the couple deal with their own personal matters.

  3. Gene Says:
    July 1st, 2011 at 6:51 am

    I really don’t care what drivers do away from the track. marriages, divorces, births, speeding tickets, etc. If it does not affect me, I don’t give a damn. That is what the National Enquirer is for.

    Would it make any difference if we didn’t know which drivers were expecting babies? Or which ones bring a different girl to the track every week? I could somehow survive without knowing that info. I made it this far without knowing how many DUIs or babies my favorite NFL players have.

    Finally, NO, it is NOT an intrusion for a driver to ask us to spend time and money to watch him do his job. We have a choice of whether to watch him or not.

  4. Richard Allen Says:
    July 1st, 2011 at 7:06 am

    Again, the key point to me in regard to the Kurt Busch story is that he brought another woman to the track with him. He manufactured the story by doing so. No one said anything publicly about his marital status until that moment.

  5. Sue Rarick Says:
    July 1st, 2011 at 8:48 am

    I will agree that once Kurt brought his GF to the track it became public fodder. But as a musician for most of my life I have to disagree that we owe anyone all of our personal life.
    What I owe people is the best performance I can give and to be polite when a fan comes up and chats. I also have to have a smile on my face and sign any autographs.
    I do not owe anyone all my time. I have to shop, wash the car, do laundry and cook like everyone else. There is a line (though fuzzy) where it is just flat out impolite to bother another person.

  6. Tyler West Says:
    July 1st, 2011 at 8:51 am

    As long as he keeps doing good I don’t care who he brings to the races. I don’t know one person who has not dealt with a relationship issue. I don’t think it is anyone’s business to be honest but…I guess it come with the job of being a driver and being in the public eye. I think it would be great if some of these reporters private lives were put on display for all to pick apart. And then see how well they could handle it. I feel everyone should be able to have a life without the intrusion of the public even if your job puts you in the public eye.

  7. jerseygirl Says:
    July 1st, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Richard, I agree with you that all celebrities and public figures give up a certain level of privacy. As you said, she showed up in VL, people had questions about it. I can understand Kurt and his press conference after the fact asking for privacy - that makes sense, but if he wanted to keep it completely quiet, then he shouldn’t have had her come to the track.

    I also agree that the stalking that some of these people put up with from photographers and other media is seriously overdone.

    Am I interested? Sure to a degree, especially if I follow the driver. Do I go searching for the info, no.

  8. jerseygirl Says:
    July 1st, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Richard, LOL to your comment about no one mentioning Kurt’s marital status until then.

    Probably no one noticed or cared - maybe he wanted the attention?

  9. steven Says:
    July 1st, 2011 at 10:18 am

    They are rich and famous! Inquiring minds want to know! Can’t wait to hear about Brian France! Next!

  10. Josie Says:
    July 1st, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I agree with Gene. Everyone gets paid for doing a job..everyone’s paycheck one way or the other comes from money you and I spend. Yes public figures private lives are more ” out there” then normal folks..but to me..other then what the “star” chooses to make public about his private life or the commission of a felony…nothing else has a bearing on his/her abilities to do the job and really should not be explored by the media just to fill up space in a column.

  11. old97fan Says:
    July 1st, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Mr. Allen,

    There are 3 salient points in response to your article. I believe that when Kurt showed up at the race track with someone else, he made THAT issue news and to report it, or to ask a relevant respectful question about it was fair game. Kurt and Patricia made themselves a news item by doing so, not the media.

    Kurt and his fans have a legitimate gripe with the media coverage of Kurt. There have been a lot of school playground politics in the reporting of some of his other issues. The double standard in reporting and opinion writing in Nascar media has been downright astounding to me. I have seen Kurt excoriated over things and then other annointed drivers both past and present given a free pass for similar behaviours. Some of what you are seeing right now is a knee jerk response to this due to previous hypocrisy from the media.

    You state the key point you make is that Kurt brought this particular story on himself. You and I agree on this point. However, you also made the emphatic point that public figures give up their privacy when they either move into the public eye or sell their performances. Where does this concept come from? Basicly 2 sources. 1. People who feel like they should get everything for the ticket they buy, which is a crock, they are only paying enough to see a performance, not buying this person’s life. 2. Media people who, ironically, make their living reporting on other people. also a crock.

    The concept of giving up your private personal life if you are public persona really holds no water with the exception of publicly elected officials who control aspects of the public good. If you are an athlete or entertainer and want to have all of that out in the open then more power to you. However, you are only obligated to provide the paying public what you agreed to provide, a quality product for the price paid. There is no more obligation to share what you do privately and I seriously question the motives or logic of one who says otherwise.

  12. George Says:
    July 1st, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    I agree that when a driver shows up at the track with a guest in a prominent location, they should probably be prepared for some questions - this would apply to guest who are partners, political figures, other famous people, questionable characters, etc. Anyone they are seen with will become a source of interest and they know that. The financial argument is very flawed though. Just because a person makes considerable money from people, doesn’t instantly give us a right to know about their personal life. Why do success and wealth in any area of life require a “certain degree of openness”? Only poor and unsuccessful drivers and artists should be allowed privacy?

  13. Chris Says:
    July 1st, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    There’s a lot I want to say on this matter but I’ll make this short and sweet. “Celebrity” or not, they are still people. Leave them alone.