Published on June 12th, 2008 | by Michael J Smith1
NASCAR's Image Tarnished?
With all the media attention this discrimination suit is getting, someone should probably ask, Is NASCAR’s image tarnished in light of this new suit claiming racial and gender discrimination and sexual harassment?
For those unfamiliar with the sport, I think the answer is yes. I think a lot of people operate under the impression that NASCAR is a sport of good ol’ boys. They also have preconceived notions about fans, as well. We must be beer-drinking, tobacco-chewing, cigarette-smoking boys from the South.
The unfortunate thing is that this negative publicity will be what people who are not fans of the sport remember. People may gloss over the news of sponsorship, drivers, and race results. They probably turned a blind eye to a Nationwide race in Mexico, or a Latin American driver in the series. But, they’ll hone in on a discrimination suit, especially one seeking $225 – $250 million.
For critics, this will be fodder for them to say NASCAR discriminates. NASCAR is an exclusive club based on race and gender.
My question is, since when do the alleged actions of a small group of people indicate the actions of an entire organization? This, of course, is assuming that the allegations are true.
I think it would be naive to think that this would never happen in NASCAR. But, I also believe that this is not an indication of NASCAR as an organization.
With today’s litigation climate, I find it hard to believe NASCAR would brush aside these claims and terminate Mauricia Grant for bringing them up, knowing full well that a suit would be inevitable. My guess is that she didn’t take them as high as she should have. I believe that she admitted that.
But, in the end, people are who they are. If the allegations are true, they are the unfortunate actions of a small group of people, not the entire organization. So, has this lawsuit tarnished the image of NASCAR?
As much as I’d like to say no, I think the answer is yes. But, only for the people who are not fans of or a part of the sport.