By admin | November 25, 2013
By Richard Allen
Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb recently said that he didn’t consider Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, or any race car driver, to be an athlete. This debate has come up before whenever there is talk of declaring a NASCAR driver to be the ‘Athlete of the Year’ or some other such title.
McNabb’s comments certainly stirred the media who cover NASCAR. From editorial posts and their ”snarky” tweets, the fury of those who took offence was evident.
My take on McNabb’s comments is one of complete indifference. I could care less whether or not race car drivers are called athletes, and I do not understand why anyone else cares. What difference does it make whether they are considered athletes? Does it change your view of the sport if the drivers aren’t called athletes on ESPN SportsCenter.
Oddly, the arguments that drivers are athletes almost immediately go to Jimmie Johnson’s training routine away from the track or Mark Martin’s workout regimen to prove that they should be labeled as athletes. That alomost seems to contradict the argument if evidence has to come from somewhere other than the track. But if it’s that important, call Jimmy Spencer an athlete.
I am more concerned about the quality of racing on the track than I am about the labels applied to the sport’s drivers by former football players.
Too bad some of the more prominent members of the NASCAR media don’t get nearly as upset about the parade racing that we saw over the entire NASCAR season or the Sprint Cup driver domination and ruination of the Nationwide Series.(Note: Many NASCAR media members do address these topics, but I’m referring to what I call the ‘water carriers’, i.e. “Can I bring you another glass of water, Mr. France.” You know who they are.)
Vote in the ‘Are race car drivers athletes?’ poll ————————————>
Engaging in debates with Donovan McNabb accomplishes little more than to serve as a distraction from the real issues. Empty grandstands and television ratings that have fallen dramatically from the highs of eight years ago are more important than whether or not drivers are called athletes. 500 mile races in which the only passing seen takes place immediately after restarts or on pit stop exchanges are of more concern to me.
Please, be more concerned with the racing than the labels.
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