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Jeremy Clements Situation Starting to Take on a Carl Long Sort of Feel

By admin | February 28, 2013

By Richard Allen

In a piece posted earlier on this website, I stated that NASCAR may very well have been right to not publish whatever it was that Nationwide Series driver Jeremy Clements said that resulted in him receiving an indefinite suspension from the sanctioning body. I still stand by that statement as it would do no one any good to say again something that should have never been said in the first place.

But I also said in that piece that I would be willing to call out NASCAR if information came to light that was deemed worthy of criticism.

Well, as the situation continues to play out, one revelation has come out that has a disturbing feel about it. Originally, because of the wording of Clements’ statement posted on Facebook in which he offered an apology, I and many others believed that the ill advised comment was made during the course of an interview with a reporter that was intended for later use in a story.(That Facebook statement can be found within the column linked above.)

However, after Clements spoke with, it appears as if there was no interview taking place. According to the report offered by Marty Smith, Clements was assisting a female NASCAR employee and a reporter from MTV through the garage area. In the course of their walk, the driver and the reporter engaged in a conversation that was not being taped, filmed or transcribed. In other words, it was little more than a private conversation. It was at that time when Clements made the remark in question.

While under no circumstances can racial slurs or other derogatory language be condoned, there is a line somewhere between private conversation and being on the record publicly. To be suspended indefinitely for a comment that was made off the record seems rather harsh.

After this new information came to light, the severity of the penalty is almost taking on a Carl Long sort of feel. By that, I am referring to an instance in 2009 when owner/driver Carl Long was hammered with one of the heaviest penalties in NASCAR history($200,000, 12 races and 200 points) after it was discovered that the engine he had used during the Sprint All Star weekend in Charlotte measured 358.17 cubic inches when 358.00 cubic inches is the stated tolerance. That’s right, all of those penalties for being 0.17ci over the limit.

That instance gave off the appearance of NASCAR coming down hard on a small player as a way of sending a message to the bigger players who might have been playing fast and loose with the rulebook. That may not have been what happened at all, but it had that feel about it.

In the Clements case, there is also the feel of a message being delivered by NASCAR to the bigger players by way of a harsh penalty handed down to a lesser name. Again, this may not be what is happening, but it just feels that way.

Consider that this suspension came just days after Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski revealed his “vision” for the sport in an interview with Nate Ryan of USAToday. The driver’s ”vision” did not seem to mesh with that of the NASCAR hierarchy and the champ was called in for conferences with Brian and Lesa France as a result.

Could it be that the Clements suspension was a way of issuing a warning to anyone else who might want to speak their mind? In other words, NASCAR may have just served notice that free speech isn’t always free.

As a teacher in a public high school, I would call down a student who I might overhear using inappropriate language within a private conversation. If he/she continued with that behavior after the warning, further action would be taken. It seems as if Clements bypassed the warning and went straight to prison.

For saying something inappropriate and distasteful in front of a NASCAR employee and a reporter who likely has little understanding of the sport, Jeremy Clements probably should have been fined and put on probation. Instead, it seems as if he was “Carl Longed”.

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20 Responses to “Jeremy Clements Situation Starting to Take on a Carl Long Sort of Feel”

  1. Michael Says:
    March 1st, 2013 at 6:23 am

    Great article and theory. Another possible option is that instead of being “Carl Longed” he was “Caponed”. I still wonder how bad the punishment would have been if he hadn’t tweeted about how boring the Daytona 500 was. NASCAR would have drawn way too much criticism for punishing him for that, however they’re able to use the “racial quote” as basis to drop the hammer.

  2. Bill B Says:
    March 1st, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Very good points Rich. It is the NASCAR way. Make examples out of those that will impact their bottom line the least.

    Our rights to freedom of speech are still there but now the cost may be higher than ever before. They’ve found a way to squelch our freedom of speech via economics. Say something that goes over the line and you get fired. Zero tollerance is the new norm. That’s not something that just occurs with people in the limelight anymore, it happens every day to ordinary people. God help us if they ever find a way to read our thoughts.

  3. Richard Allen Says:
    March 1st, 2013 at 9:35 am

    MTV reporter Marty Beckerman has now stated that he and his network never intended to do anything with this “story”. It was NASCAR who made it public.

  4. Robert Says:
    March 1st, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Happens in my government workplace all the time. It’s as though the more things you can be offended by, the higher moral ground you can claim. Although they may force me to publicly say the politically correct terms, I’m still thinking the other ones in my head!

  5. Sue Rarick Says:
    March 1st, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Nascar is busy promoting the cars and drivers rather than the racing itself. But then they go ahead and “talk” to Brad and Clement’s gets punished for a unfortunate comment made as a private comment.

    Does Nascar really think that drivers are NOT going to avoid as much contact with people outside their immediate circle?

    An ungaurded comment to a fan could get blown out of proportion - or even just made up by a person not liking a driver. If walls were being put up by the drivers before, ya ain’t seen nuthin yet. Get ready for the preprogrammed interviews, if you can get one at all. The will spout the Nascar line when they HAVE to give an interview and it will sound as phony as it is and shortly thereafter there will be no need to even have an interview.

  6. Mike Says:
    March 1st, 2013 at 9:59 am

    NASCAR says they want drivers to be “characters” and have their own colorful personalities, but only if it fits their idea of what that is. And they will not tell you, specifically, what that is. Just like politicians, they don’t know how to define what they want or don’t want, but they know it when they see or, in this case, hear it…

  7. Steve Says:
    March 1st, 2013 at 10:39 am

    You can bet that if this were a big name, it wouldn’t have been treated the same, if not swept under the rug completely. Lets say Jimmie Johnson or Tony Stewart made the remark, do you honestly think they would be suspended indefinitely by Nascar? Not on your life, so I agree, it does have the Carl Long affect to it.

  8. Dennis Says:
    March 1st, 2013 at 10:49 am

    I don’t know why they didn’t simply meet with Jeremy privately. This suspension has now made it a national news item that draws unwelcome attention.

  9. Richard Allen Says:
    March 1st, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Not so sure this is unwelcome attention. Allows NASCAR to look progressive and inclusive.

  10. J. Bradford Says:
    March 1st, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Rich, I have been a JAYSKI fan since its inception, and I never look forward to reading anything more than your opinion on all things NASCAR. Your Carl Long connection and pointing out the “paranoid fiefdom” that is NASCAR is duly noted and was not lost on me. As always I enjoy reading your thoughts and insights into the sport that I love, and I appreciate your slant more than all of the
    Dan-icky, Junior, “master-of-the-obvious-story” tellers/propagandists combined! Never lose your edge Rich, because you are the best of the best out there at what you do and say!

  11. Joe W. Says:
    March 1st, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I understand the point that Nascar thinks it makes them look progressive and inclusive but don’t they also think that it could backfire? Some will look at Clements as a bigot and all Nascar drivers will be “gulity by association”. That is possible. I’m not saying that is true, at all and maybe Nascar doesn’t mind throwing one “small time” driver under the bus. But it should make us take notice. I don’t know what Brad K. said that was wrong either. Everyone knows Brian France is not his father or grandfather. This is a fact.

  12. Ray Fitzgerald Says:
    March 1st, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    NASCAR had no choice but to be preemptive. It was a comment in front of a NASCAR employee and a reporter.
    The employee was right in telling NASCAR, if for no other reason that a reporter was there, and NASCAR was able to get out in front of it. It MTV had published it, and it was known that NASCAR new about the comment, it would have been a PR nightmare.

    IMO, if it had been a big name, MTV would most likely have published it. It’s news, NASCAR would still have to get in front of it. It sure wouldn’t have been swept under a rug.

    I disagree that it is all about being PC.
    Jeremy probably is a good guy, who just learned a hard lesson. As for the severity of the punishment, it does seem excessive, but we don’t know yet how many races he will miss.

  13. Ed in GA Says:
    March 1st, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    If the driver making the comment had been Dale Earnhardt Jr., we would have never known about it.

  14. Scott Beasley Says:
    March 1st, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Who cares what these pepole think! They are paid to drive race cars, thier opinion means very little! I do think you are right though that NASCAR is looking to send some sort of message through the gargage, great analogy with the Carl Long situation. Until NASCAR decides to get out of controlling every thing that goes on, NASCAR will continue to decline. They need to learn that people are not there for NASCAR, they are there for the drivers and the races.

  15. Larry Says:
    March 1st, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Yep, I never agreed with the Carl Long Penalties. You can bet if that had been a name driver such as Edwards, Johnson, Jr., Gordon or whoever no way they would have been hit with the penalties that Carl Long got. And, same thing in this instance. If Danica Patrick had uttered the word “Prick” which could be considered very offensive to a male driver do you think she would have missed a race? No way. That’s no difference in this instance. Clements should have only gotten a fine and some probation for his mistake. But, King Nascar does what they want because there is no one to call them on it. I’m not a big Union Person but I think the time has come that the drivers need some kind of representation so that penalties can be assessed in a fair and consistent manor. That’s certainly not happening now with the way Nascar Dictates everything.

  16. Big Al Says:
    March 1st, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Wow, I hear black males call THEMSELVES this all the time. I also hear them refer to black females using words and phrases I deam offensive, evidently they do not? I hear it in Songs and other media also. Please explain to me why it is acceptable for Black people to call each other and themselves this, but it is not acceptable for persons of any other race to say it? Is it offensive to some people? Sure it is. Is it any more offensive than some other words I have heard used as descripters? No.

    My argument is this one: Black people are using these terms to describe themselves in everyday conversation. Now we as society are gonna publicly punish someone of another race for using the word in the same way? In conversation and not as a discripter?

    Sorry but I have problems with this……..

  17. Tony Geinzer Says:
    March 1st, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Richard, I feel that we are stuck in a stereooptic “Network Meets Real World” No Holds Barred Uncut and Uncensored Always Live Culture that is stuck in a position that is unable to find its real filter and picks and chooses how it gets angry. I feel that careers need to develop without “Another” Hollywood Default we’ve thrown as there are many actors,actresses,stars, superstars, superdupersuperstars and all that good stuff, and who are we to trust? Obviously, I hope Pop Culture and Culture meet back up again and we don’t fall for a Grade F Krusty The Klown.

  18. Offkilter Says:
    March 2nd, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Rich, i think you nailed it in the last two paragraphs.

  19. Offkilter Says:
    March 2nd, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Sorry, i meant last three

  20. Russ Says:
    March 2nd, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Rich your last two paragraphs do make an important point. However I wonder, how as an “independent contractor” Clements is effected by Labor law, as opposed to being an employee or in the situation you used a student?
    Just curious.