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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lawsuits, complaints, and crying wolf, Oh MY

It has been an interesting week for NASCAR and let the spin begin.

Lawsuit: $225 million in damages for racial and sexual harassment file by an ex-official.
We all have read the accusations or at least a summation of them filed by former NASCAR employee Mauricia Grant and if what she says is true, someone has some ‘esplanin’ to do.

From a fan’s perspective, all of this is very disturbing; although this fan is not surprised of the possibility that much of this could be true. Just speaking from experience of attending races, one does not have to search very hard to see and hear this kind of despicable attitude from the atypical NASCAR race fan. HOWEVER, I don’t think we, as average fans would have enough day-to-day access of the inner workings of the race weekend garage to pass a judgment of gran't claims.

The challenge faced by Grant (and her attorneys) is actually proving beyond a reasonable doubt that these accusations really took place. Marc at Full Throttle brings up some nice points concerning the ‘language’ of the suit. Personally, I still think there is something more to all of this, than just ‘lawyer speak’.

David Scott tried a couple of times to prove his claims of racial discrimination and neither time received a favorable judgment. It should be noted that his accusations did not include any NASCAR race officials, but rather against other team’s hauler drivers. (Whom btw NASCAR reprimanded pretty severely) So NASCAR does seem to have taken a stand against such behavior. But one may have to ask the question if NASCAR used some sort of double standard when it comes to their own employees?

But this is not the first time a high profile sport or organization has had to answer in court to similar accusations. The University of Arkansas had former (and fired) head coach Nolan Richardson file a similar suit of racial discrimination. Again, on the surface, these accusations did not seem that unbelievable considering the mantra/perception and location of where the alleged incidents took place. However, when it came time for Richardson to take the stand, his accusations appeared to be more mere misunderstanding of perception. Richardson also was not successful in his claim as well.

Is Grant’s suit frivolous? That remains to be seen, but what I am finding interesting is the common theme among the majority of NASCAR fans voicing their opinion over the innerweb. That opinion is that this is just a disgruntled ex-employee trying to make a quick buck and that all of this is B.S. Understand that these are many of the same fans that claim NASCAR fixes races, ignored violations and other tin foil hat conspiracies. One would think that if those conspiracies could happen, Grant’s accusations could as well.

One thing for sure is that Grant was involved with both pre and post race inspections, and pit officiating, and there has been ZERO mention in the suit of such directives substantiating these theories. One would think that if she were aware of such things, it would be mentioned prominently as NASCAR’s credibility is at stake. I am sure that Grant is not the only disgruntled ex NASCAR employee, but for some reason they are in hiding just now. The NBA has one disgruntled ex-employee and is having to answer some questions, but to date, NASCAR does not have this problem.


Elliott Sadler made a most interesting scanner comment at the conclusion of the Pocono race last Sunday. He asked crew chief Rodney Childers if ‘there was any possible way they could go to Michigan like the 9 (car)’? Childers responded with ‘it is all the same stuff except the front end stuff YOU don’t like’. Sadler came back with ‘ Well, forget what I like, and just make it the same as his’.

This maybe a genius move by Sadler, or it maybe the beginning of the downfall. ‘Equal’ equipment should be associated with equal results. Jeremy Mayfield made similar claims towards the end of his career with Evernham as well and that didn’t work out to well for him.

I am just not sure that Sadler wants to be compared to his teammate in an apples to apples sort of way.


Also late in the Pocono race, Sadler made the claim after just being passed by most the field that he ‘had a tire going down’. This can happen to EVERY driver but how many times do we hear ‘my motor is getting ready to blow up’ or ‘something is wrong with these tire’ and such. We actually heard BOTH just last Sunday. Over time, this has to wear on the psyche of the crew chief and the crew over-all. You could almost hear the ‘here we go again’, coming from Brett Griffin when he mentioned that ‘you are not racing anyone, just stick it out and hope for a caution’. I am sure the buzz at the GEM shop is the latest round of 'phantom phlatz'.

Needless to say, history will show that all the tire pressures were up and there was no flat. Aesop would be proud.

Like the news teases used to say; film at 11. There will be more to say on all these topics as time goes on.


Anonymous said...

NASCAR could never be considered
"racist" and Elliott Sadler is the greatest NASCAR Driver in the universe.

End of lawsuit and end of speculation.

So there.

Anonymous said...

Rodney Childers should have told
His Highness he could have a car like the #9 for Michigan and every other race if he would start driving as well as Kasey Kahne does.....

Results speak volumes.
The lack of results is deafening....

Maybe the problem with the #19 is not the equipment.

Someone is running out of excuses.

p.s. The Sunoco commercial, with Agent Sadler, is terribly unfortunate and sadly (sadlery ?) undignified.

It's time for the clown show to end.

marc said...

Thanks for the link and also an update, I had a chance to read the entire "charge sheet" that was filed in court, it far worse than I expected.

It reads like she's tossed the entire NNS chain of command (24 named and a passel of unnamed officials, members, hangers-on and a partridge and a pear tree) under the bus and has either claimed they either actively were part of it or covered it up.

Put another way, and considering NASCAR's efforts "diversity-wise" I find it laughable, to say the least.

That's not to say she may win based on one or two idiots but what the papers claim is so far out in left field as to be not believable.

I also have to say the venue, a court in NY, could have been anywhere a NNS event was held during her time of employment.

Do ya think the lawyers selected NY as the most likely place to find an anti-NASCAR jury.

Anonymous said...

True or False, this is not good for Nascar overall. This comes at a point when the motor sport industry as a whole was getting a lot of positive publicity do to high profile people Like Dale earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Danica Patrick, who has gotten a lot of exposure for Indy and women in racing. Well, we will have to wait and see what the outcome will be.