By admin | May 9, 2012
By Richard Allen
Michael Waltrip is a Sprint Cup team owner while at the same time he serves as a broadcaster for Fox and Speed. Phil Parsons has owned start and park teams while announcing races for Speedâ€™s Camping World Truck Series coverage. Brad Daugherty owns part of a Sprint Cup team and works for ESPN. Rusty Wallace has owned Nationwide Series teams and announced for ESPN.
And now, Sprint Cup driver Carl Edwards has been brought in as the newest commentator on the ESPN Nationwide Series team.
Noticing a trend?
Trouble is, the closer intertwined with the sport a person is the less objective they are capable of being. Thatâ€™s just human nature. For example, how can Michael Waltrip be taken seriously when he is asked to comment on an incident involving one of his cars? And he has been asked to do that this season. That is, of course, in and around his â€˜incidentalâ€™ sponsor references and the brotherly banter between he and Darrell Waltrip.
How can Carl Edwards be fair when discussing anything involving one of his Roush Fenway Racing teammates or one of his Sprint Cup rivals who happens to be racing in a preliminary event? Moreover, Rusty Wallace was not only asked to comment on his own cars but also his own son.
Seems as though objectivity has been replaced by personality and sponsorship ties, no matter what the cost in journalistic etiquette. And besides the sacrifice of integrity, there are some real fairness issues involved here. A team owner who will get to go on air every week to mention his team’s backers will be more likely to land or keep sponsors than owners who do not have that same advantage.
And why is it that this practice of hiring insiders within the sport only seems to take place in NASCAR? Jerry Jones doesnâ€™t sit in the broadcast booth during Dallas Cowboys games nor does Mark Cuban commentate on Dallas Mavericks contests.
Surely there must be some qualified people out there who could step in front of a camera to talk NASCAR who do not also feel the need to offer one shameless sponsor plug after another, comment on family members and teammates, or explain incidents involving his own drivers.
And by the way, the whole driverâ€™s suit under the coat and tie is completely ridiculous.
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