Dale Earnhardt Jr.
celebrates Talladega win
CIA Stock Photo
I can certainly understand the
reasoning behind the need for good role models for our young folks, and
the need to encourage our sports figures to behave in a professional
manner. Dale Earnhardt Jr. used a bit of poor judgment when he, in a
moment of jubilation after the win at Talladega, uttered the word “$hit”.
While using this word is not
permissible by NASCAR rules, we should consider the context in which it
was used. Certainly Dale Jr. was not implying that someone didn’t know
$hit about this or that, or that he didn’t give a $hit about this or that,
he simply remarked that his five wins at Talladega paled in comparison to
his father's 10 wins. If ever the word could be used in a positive manner
this was probably one of those cases.
I understand that NASCAR is obligated to impose a fine for such an
utterance, and the rules should apply to everyone, but a little common
sense should emerge in regards to the nature of the penalty. Maybe $10,000
is not a lot of money to a celebrity like Dale Jr, but 25 points could
cost the entire team the championship.
Is this a fair penalty to the
team and team sponsors? Is it commensurate to the offense, especially
considering how it occurred? It’s not like the “F” word was used, or
vulgarities spewed in a derogatory way about another driver, team or
In a lawful society we sometimes get overenthusiastic in the
implementation of the rules in which we live by, trying to enforce them
regardless of the circumstances. In fairness to NASCAR they do need to be
firm, fair, and consistent in regards to rule enforcement.
Earnhardt won on the
track, but lost to the officials
CIA Stock Photo
Has the pendulum of fairness
swung too far in the NASCAR business? A series born from the days of
bootlegging whiskey where there was little in the way of rules, to a
series where the races, teams, and drivers are controlled like robotic
The fans expect the drivers to
be bold, daring, and fearless in an environment of extreme danger, racing
at high speeds where one wrong move can spell disaster for you and your
fellow drivers. Then, in the excitement of the winners circle, where
emotions run high, a slip of the tongue occurs…….uh oh!
Are we really all that sensitive these days? Well, I guess maybe in the
racing business sometimes $hit happens.
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