Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Point Is, NASCAR Is Plain Wrong

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Point Is, NASCAR Is Plain Wrong

Article excerpt

Byline: Gene Frenette, The Times-Union

It's understandable that NASCAR couldn't break with precedent it already set, but deducting 25 points from Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Nextel Cup standings for uttering a curse word on television after a victory at Talladega was absolute !@#% nonsense. And it's something that should be amended for the 2005 season.

There's nothing wrong with NASCAR wanting to impose a penalty for using profanity on the air. It just has to find a more appropriate punishment.

Since Earnhardt and his DEI empire make too much money to impose a fine that will act as a real impediment, why not penalize all drivers who violate this rule by pushing them back 25 places at the next race? So if a driver wins qualifying after doing the potty-mouth thing, he starts in the 26th position. And if he qualifies 25th among 43 drivers, move him to the back of the pack (18-spot deduction) and apply the additional seven spots at the next race.

The backlash NASCAR would receive if Earnhardt ultimately loses a points championship by less than 25 points will be enormous. The criticism it's already receiving will serve as a red flag and likely force an image-conscious organization to call an audible.

A five-second delay instituted by NBC for its race telecasts is a laudible step, but you can't have a points championship being impacted by an off-the-track violation. If Shaquille O'Neal had 25 points deducted every time he used profanity in an interview, he might have never won an NBA scoring title.

It's nice that NASCAR wants a clean image, but use common sense. Penalize foul-mouthed drivers with position deductions at future races, not for points already earned. . . .

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio did a lot of teeth-gritting this week when asked about the questionable holding call on cornerback Dewayne Washington that proved costly in the loss to the Colts. …

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