Friday, November 18, 2011
Keselowski's Fine Triggers Debate
Among all the emotion, here are a few facts.
During an appearance last week at the NASCAR Hall Of Fame, Keselowski responded critically when asked by reporters about NASCAR’s conversion to electronic fuel injection in 2012. "We're not doing this because it's better for the teams," said Keselowski. "I don't think we're really going to save any gas. Cars on the street are injected with real electronics, not a throttle body. So we've managed to go from 50-year-old technology to 35-year-old technology. I don't see what the big deal is."
Had Keselowski stopped there, he may be gotten off scot-free. However, he also accused NASCAR of orchestrating a fuel-injected “media circus” to curry favorable press reaction, comments that clearly did not sit well with the sanctioning body. “It's a media circus,” said the Penske Racing driver. “(NASCAR is) trying to make you guys happy so you write good stories. It gives them something to promote. We're always looking for something to promote, but the honest answer is it does nothing for the sport, except cost the team owners money.”
While stopping short of confirming a fine, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp told Associated Press reporter Jenna Fryer Thursday, “We did talk to Brad following his recent comments that were highly critical of the series moving to electronic fuel injection next season. We made it clear to him that these kind of comments are detrimental to the sport, and we handled it accordingly."
Freedom of speech is one of the basic tenets of our free society; guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. There are limits to free speech, however. Courts long ago ruled that there is no right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded movie house, and businesses routinely fire employees for comments and conduct detrimental to the company. NASCAR – along with the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL – are no different.
We can only hope that in the future, the process may become a bit more transparent.