Nelson Piquet’s penalty looks bad on sportBy Ryan O`Hara
Nelson Piquet Jr. was fined $10,000 and ordered to attend sensitivity training earlier on Monday after posting an Instagram comment with a gay slur directed at fellow Nationwide Series competitor in Parker Kligerman. Kligerman posted a selfie following a workout and Piquet opined by adding in a three letter slur. From the context it appeared that Piquet was just messing around with Kligerman. Kligerman seemed to respond jokingly to Piquet’s comments. It seemed harmless right? NASCAR certainly didn’t believe so. This decision will ultimately have a negative impact on the sport.
Honestly, I have a real problem with NASCAR’s decision making when it comes to this. When are we going to grow up? This is NASCAR. We should be setting an example and that is an example different from other sports. What do you see happening in America right now? How about taking a look at our public schools? Bullying is a huge problem in public schools, but that wouldn’t be an issue if the schools made silly rules that prevent people being bullied from protecting themselves. As a result, some of these kids are taking matters into their own hands and taking their own lives. It is a very sensitive subject, but the facts are there. Bullies in school are the equivalent to the criminals committing gun crimes in places like Chicago and Los Angeles. There are laws that take guns away from people who abide by the law, but criminals are criminals. They will commit crimes no matter what stands in their way. Why do I even bring that into this article?
NASCAR should not be regulating the actions of the drivers and by actions I mean the specific rhetoric. If a racer wants to go out and go on a homophobic rampage then that is his/her decision, but keep in mind that there may be some consequences for what you have done. These drivers are not children. I’m sick and tired of the political correctness that has been plaguing sports in America today. I may be completely dead wrong on this issue. Maybe our sport is going through a huge cultural change and not all of us realize it, but it’s not the NASCAR that we are accustomed to. If NASCAR allows the drivers to show their true personalities on and off the race track, I guarantee you that more fans and more people will tune into the races. Our viewership will expand instead of decline.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. isn’t exactly the most popular boxer out there, but the man knows how to win prizefights and win a lot of money in the process. Why did so many people buy PPV for his fight with Oscar De La Hoya back in 2007? The pre-fight hype and the trash talk added so much to the story. The things that Mayweather said in Oscar’s face would certainly give him a major fine in NASCAR today and you can probably add some of the things he has said to fellow rival Manny Pacquiao as well. NASCAR is in the same box. Do we allow our drivers to show their true feelings? That is something that NASCAR is missing and we need to regain it soon before it is too late.
Now, I’m going back to Piquet. Was what he said wrong? I didn’t find it to be derogatory in that context, but people still can find it offensive. Piquet has a right to say what he wants to say. The First Amendment guarantees that. What really made me skeptical was the statement from Piquet. I just did not find that to be legitimate from Piquet. And by that I mean that Piquet didn’t really want to say that. It seems that these sort of statements are forced upon drivers like Piquet to ensure the reputation of the sport doesn’t get damaged, but NASCAR should be focusing on having good racing instead of this. I know that this is a very tough topic to discuss in the NASCAR garage, but I’m not afraid to speak my mind on the issue. I didn’t find Piquet to do anything wrong. He made a joke on Instagram. That’s it. He’ll have to face the consequences of how sponsors treat him and how other fans treat him for now on, but that’s essentially his own doing and NASCAR should put their emphasis on making the racing product better for the fans, not regulating what drivers say. I see more fans coming to the track if they take my suggestions.Comment with your thoughts!