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Dr. Johnny Benjamin Headshot

NASCAR is Begging for a Visit From Rev. Al Sharpton

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History has taught us that when supposedly decent people sit idly by when venomous racist spew their hate, tragedy often follows. How long must be people be terrorized before we truly address it?

You cannot sit at an NBA, NFL or MLB game and chant racist hostilities at the athletes without it being immediately addressed. No one will turn a blind eye if a member of an opposing team's coaching staff got in the face of a WNBA star at a game and screamed profanities and sexist filth. Unfortunately, rampant racism is common and apparently tolerated in NASCAR.

A young and talented white driver (I will not mention his name because he is in no way associated with this vile behavior) is a top circuit NASCAR darling. While a young and talented Black driver struggles to secure sponsorship and endures racist tirades in the Nationwide developmental league.

Marc Davis is the talented 19 year old young man that is attempting to live his dream by becoming a champion NASCAR driver. But he, unlike any of his other peers, must silently endure the bitterness of open and aggressive racial hostility. Marc must be silent or he risks being black balled. (Why isn't it called green balled?... Just a thought.)

During a 2006 race at Hickory Speedway in North Carolina, Marc -- then 16 years old -- was serenaded by the crowd with "N!@@&% (racial slur) go home". This week he reportedly was accosted with a profanity laden rant that included racial slurs by Bryan Berry the crew chief for a team owned by NASCAR legend and ESPN commentator, Rusty Wallace. The crew chief has been suspended.

NASCAR fines, suspends and loses law suits but apparently these measures have proved to be inadequate in eradicating their longstanding and not-so secret cancer. When the national brands (called sponsors) that adorn the cars and provide the zillions of dollars required to fuel the NASCAR circuit are held publicly responsible, significant change may then come.

Divestiture is a powerful and alarming word.

NASCAR should institute a zero tolerance policy with harsh sanctions and team suspensions for violations. It should also better monitor fans in attendance. Common decency should be sufficient motivation for NASCAR officials. Sponsors should be good corporate citizens.
Morality has failed thus far; so maybe lightening their pockets will work.

During these crippling economic times, NASCAR may be forced to finally realize that they can no longer continue to alienate a potentially huge source of revenue -- minority fans both Black and Hispanic.

NASCAR is at a crossroads. Either they can privately take out the trash or endure public scrutiny and the pressure that can be applied until they hemorrhage major dollars.

To date, NASCAR has not adequately addressed this scourge of deep seated racism. But when the Rev. Al Sharpton shows up the stock car world will scream foul and say that the 'race' card is being played.

Funny... why isn't the 'world' screaming now for Marc Davis and common decency?