Monday, April 29, 2013

NASCAR: "We want our athletes and our sport to look like America."

   NBA veteran Jason Collins has come out as first openly gay male athlete player still active in a major American professional sport. Other gay athletes, including former NBA center John Amaechi, have waited until retirement to divulge their sexuality publicly.

   Collins has received mostly positive reaction, from teammates, friends and even former President Bill Clinton.

   Collins' decision sparked discussion on Monday to whether participants in other sports - or the sanctioning bodies themselves - would react in a similar fashion is faced with the same issue.

   NASCAR was asked to provide a statement in that regard. Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR Vice President of Public Affairs and Multicultural Development, responded:

   "NASCAR is a recognized leader in diversity and inclusion initiatives in professional sports and home to the best drivers in the world. We want our athletes and our sport to look like America, and exclusion or intolerance of any kind - whether behind the wheel, on pit road or in the garage - is not a part of that formula."

   In addition, in a published interview last month, reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski said what matters in NASCAR is if someone can win.
    When asked if an openly gay driver would have more trouble earning acceptance from the fans or their fellow drivers, Keselowski said, "I can't speak for the fans, I can only speak for myself, but in this garage, if you can win, people will want to be a part of what you can do."


  1. I would like to hope that NASCAR fans would be ready to put stereotypes - all kinds of stereotypes - behind them as we move forward.

    I do fear that in NASCAR, there might be more negative backlash for a driver of a "non-traditional" background than perhaps in other sports. I don't want that to be the case, but in a sport that still has the "foreign" car argument against Toyota, I can see it happening.

    It is my sincere hope that reasonable fans will prevail, and we can focus on how a driver performs rather than gender, race, sexual orientation, or home country.

  2. When athletes put their lifestyle or race or whatever ahead of everything else - as Jason Collins is clearly doing - then the whole argument about "stereotyping" becomes nonsensical, because what defenders of Collins are doing is indicting people who treat sexual deviance as sexual deviance - and after Jerry Sandusky we should not do that. Society has practically recriminalized smoking for being an unhealthy lifestyle - why should we sympathize with someone pushing an unhealthy lifestyle?

    1. Unhealthy lifestyle? So Jason Collins chose to be gay? Chose to be ridiculed, to be discriminated against, to not be able to marry the consenting adult they want?

      Ignorance is defined as "Lack of knowledge or information", and it shows. Collins did not chose to be gay as much as I chose to NOT look like my siblings: Dark haired, dark skinned, brown eyed, while they are light skinned, light brown haired, and blue eyed. You can choose to be religious, but you cannot choose who you like.

      Comparing Jason Collins to Sandusky is one of the most asinine things I've ever read.

    2. Rojodi - where is Jason Collins being ridiculed by anyone? Ignorance is what defenses of Collins is about. You ignore the promiscuity and prevalence of disease common to the homosexual community, and ridiculing the comparison to Jerry Sandusky merely proves you define deviance down. That in itself is unhealthy.