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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Excuses, excuses: Drivers who turned down White House invite were disrespectful

Much back-and-forth was heard this week in the wake of the decision by several NASCAR drivers who made the Chase last year not to accept the invite of President Obama to the White House this upcoming Wednesday.

I don’t think politics played a role, as some had suggested, but I am in the crowd not happy that so many drivers would just say, “No thanks” when the president invites them to D.C. to celebrate NASCAR.

To be honest, I just think it’s plain rude.

Still, the no-goers were unapologetic. Kevin Harvick said: “This time of year there is just a lot going on. Most everything we do is scheduled months in advance. I have been to the White House before and it is an honor just to go to the White House and be in the oval office and on the premises at the White House. I understand the honor, just with everything we have going on right now there is no way possible to reschedule the things that we have going next week.”

When pushed for more detail about what he had to do that was more important, he replied: “I don’t think that is anyone’s business. It is just one of those things where we have so many things going on that particular week leading up to the chase. It is just a bad week for us to be committed to more than one thing to go up the day before we have to be in Richmond.”

That’s weak, Kevin. The lack of a concrete answer, in my mind, means he probably could have made it, but didn’t want to deal with the travel hassle. That’s the definition of disrespectful in my mind.

Tony Stewart was similarly inclined, not giving specifics. But at least he sounded a little more sincere about understanding the honor of being invited.

“We had an obligation that we have to fulfill. I’ve enjoyed every trip that I’ve been invited and very honored to be invited every time we’ve had that opportunity and I’m very sorry I’m going to miss the chance to go again because there’s a lot of people in this nation that would love to have that opportunity to spend time with the President and just have a couple of minutes of his time. I’m very regretful that I’m not going to be able to make it but it’s a tough schedule that we have and if I could have rescheduled and got the scheduling to work out I would have been there in a heartbeat because I’ve not missed one yet.”

Greg Biffle acted all offended, and said he had committed to a retreat event put on my his sponsor 3M (something, I believe, isn’t nearly as important, or at least is something he could have skipped out on for a few hours to go to D.C.). In fact, Biffle was downright angry at people expressing the view I am espousing right here:

“First of all, I’ll start by saying that I’m disgusted by the comments I see, that people say we rejected or I can’t believe that Biffle rejected. For one, that’s disrespectful for people not knowing why I can’t go. Number two, I’ve got a picture of myself and the President, Barack Obama, in my bookshelf in my office right behind my desk shaking hands at the White House. I’ve been there and I’ve done that and I respect that. I was very flattered to get the invitation. I got the invitation less than two weeks ago to go and I’ve got a function that I’m obligated to be at with 3M in Minnesota that they’ve had planned for basically nine months. It’s an annual thing, but they have over one hundred-and-some of their business people and customers at that I go for two days. We arrive Wednesday morning early and I don’t get to Richmond until late Thursday night. I called them and talked about the invitation and this was very important to them because the function is designed around me and they really can’t have it if I don’t go. Unfortunately, the date conflicts with the

“If I hadn’t been and hadn’t met him and shook his hand and been in the oval office with him before, I might try to chisel my sponsor a little harder to let me go, and I don’t want to put it on them, it’s simply I have an obligation that I accepted long before this. A lot of times we can move our schedules around depending on what it might be, but when you have people coming from other countries that are planning on meeting you and being with you for a day-and-a-half, it’s really hard to change that.”

Sorry Greg, but I think you’re exaggerating a little: You can fly to the White House for a little meet and greet and get right back to your little corporate event. But hey, go ahead and be disgusted with me and my judgment.

The bottom line for me: If the president invited me to the White House, I would make sure to get there, even if it was inconvenient and some things needed to be rescheduled. And it’s disappointing that several drivers didn’t adjust their plans to attend.

And the biggest irony of all? … If the race can’t get run Tuesday, the entire White House event will be cancelled, and rescheduled for later in the year. If that does happen, let’s hope Obama gives these guys a little more time to plan so they can quit their whining and actually make it.

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Anonymous Bella Wood said...

And doesn't anyone think this invitation is a vote grab by the White House? No one believes that this President is an avowed Nascar fan. I mean, after all, these Chase drivers were from LAST season, so it's a little bit late to be inviting them seeing that the new Chase will be set very soon. So why invite these guys now? And, we still do live in the United States, and an invite is not a command performance by a dictator, and if refused is akin to death. The drivers have a right to refuse any invite to any place. After all, didn't Bush face a similar thing when certain football players refused an invite to the White House because they didn't like Bush's policies? And BTW, I'm a Democrat.

September 6, 2011 at 9:41 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad I live in America where I can still speak or write what I feel - so far. Seems we may not always have that option. I totally disagree with you because like Bella I think it is a vote grab by the White House. Since when do we have to disclose why we choose not to do something? Go Kevin, Tony & Greg!


September 6, 2011 at 10:40 AM 
Anonymous car3black said...

I am so glad my favorite driver chose not to attend. I would not myself wasted one second on anything to do with the man intent on destroying our country.

September 6, 2011 at 1:23 PM 
Anonymous Todd Priest said...

I totally disagree with this nonsense babble. As if this clown is even a fan. I recall the dems a long time ago wanting to get shots before they went to a race.There was nothing disrepectful about these guys concerning themselves more with their jobs at hand. Gimme a break.

September 6, 2011 at 4:44 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't get it do you?

LAST YEAR'S Cup Chase was last year - NASCAR teams, drivers and fans are + focused + on THIS YEAR'S Chase which will be set in less than one week.

The WH wants a photo op - NASCAR Cup Chasers want to figure out what they will have to do to be on top of their game.

The President's staff should have dreamed this up back in February or March...not September (not five or six months LATE).

September 6, 2011 at 5:17 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whining that is most noticeable is the author regarding lack of respect of the illegitimate president. Why don't you skip your whining and proceed to call all who disagree with the white house administration's policies racists and dangerous?

Oh, that might offend someone and we can't have that happen in America, can we?

You should worry about saving the planet or some other noble cause...the Chinese would love you to come visit and tell them how they should live while your at it. No doubt they would love to hear your views.

September 6, 2011 at 7:08 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, thats how pol pundits start statements when they think they are smarter than you. Look, the NBA, NCAA, World Series, Super Champions don't get invited during the season. They get invited after and when free time is abundant. Bad timing by the WH suggests they are insensitive to these guy's day job at best. Or simply don't understand the dynamics of a sport funded by deep pocket sponsors that could care less about 'their' driver going to the WH. Look, invite them in January when 3 M-innesota doesn't look so inviting.

September 7, 2011 at 7:04 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt, you have it all wrong .... and you seem to be doing most of the whining .... BHO wanted nothing more than political gain and a photo op. These drivers are at a critical point in the chase. It is the BUSINESS they are in .... which is something this president knows absolutely NOTHING about. Move on.

September 7, 2011 at 8:08 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt, I would say you are the one with the problem. If someone has a prior commitment leave it alone. Nobody critiques your schedule so leave theirs alone. Besides as mentioned by other posters its September and they are just now honoring LAST years chase competitors???

September 7, 2011 at 4:36 PM 
Anonymous Richard Petersen said...

Oh gosh. They make such a huge deal out of it all I swear. So they got other "plans", nothing to complain over, really. They already meet the president once, why meet him again when nothing's changes haha. Honestly, I would have done the same too.

September 7, 2011 at 9:48 PM 
Blogger Matt Myftiu said...

I see many people disagree with me ... and that's great. We can agree to disagree, one of the great things about America.

September 7, 2011 at 9:53 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not disrespectful. It was an INVITATION which means they have the right to DECLINE without being grilled.

I agree with Happy. Their reasons for not going are none of our business! It doesn't matter if they had sponsor obligations, wanted to take a nap at that time or had something personal/medical going on.

Just because a lot of their lives are public doesn't mean EVERYTHING has to be public. They're still allowed personal lives. We don't need to know everytime they take a dump no more do we need to know why they declined (THEIR RIGHT) to attend.

For example, what if they're being treated for something medical that they do not want folks to know about now or ever (i.e. a mole that might have been cancerous and found out not to be). Even yourself, if you need time off for work, you just indicate you have a doctor's appointment. You don't tell your boss or co-workers what it's for unless someone needs to know (i.e. it's found out you have cancer or something and need to have ongoing treatment). A well known writer recently revealed that he had successfully undergone treatment for cancer. Very few knew & he only let the world know until he was clear.

Also, I know Jimmie tweeted that he received heat FOR attending. He sent out a tweet that many took as bashing those who WEREN'T going, but he clarified that he was responding to those who were criticizing him FOR GOING.

I agree with the others it's nothing but a photo op to try to feign alleged support of that incompetent "president". Hearing he's going to be in Richmond this weekend, he could stop by & see the race but he won't.

BTW, I'm an American who happens to be Black & I wouldn't cross the street to see him.

September 7, 2011 at 11:13 PM 
Blogger Matt Myftiu said...

Interesting take Gymmie, and I can understand you side of the issue ... I just don't happen to agree.

I'm also quite surprised by the amount of dislike for the president I hear in general. He hasn't exactly done a bang-up job fixing the country's problems, but I think things could be a whole lot worse.

September 8, 2011 at 12:08 AM 

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