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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Jeremy Clements' suspension over racial slur a reminder of NASCAR's bad old days

More details are emerging today, as Jeremy Clements spoke to ESPN about his suspension. He said the interview was not recorded, and the only people who heard him say the offensive remark were a NASCAR employee and a reporter from MTV.

In the new report, Clements still doesn't reveal exactly what he said, but says this:
"When you say 'racial' remark, it wasn't used to describe anybody or anything," Clements said. "So that's all I'm going to say to that. And it really wasn't. I was describing racing, and the word I used was incorrect and I shouldn't have said it. It shouldn't be used at all."
" I said one remark about how I wouldn't ... I can't say that part"

Full ESPN story can be found here 


I'll wait to reserve full judgment until all the details come out, but from what is known it's pretty clear that Nationwide Series driver Jeremy Clements has screwed up big time.

Sources have told ESPN that the little-known driver used a racial slur in an interview with a reporter this past weekend at Daytona. The exact details are not out, but if he did do what the sources say, it's inexcusable.

NASCAR is a sport with a not-so-impressive past in the area of racial sensitivity (see Wendell Scott as exhibit A; they were so backward on race relations that they wouldn't even give him his trophy after he won a race). So to have drivers perpetuate that legacy at a time when NASCAR is starting to work hard on its diversity efforts is something that just can't happen.

If you want to be ignorant on your own time, that's your problem. But when you're a public figure (though Clements was so anonymous I suppose that's debatable), you can't talk that way to reporters. It's not going to end well.

The following statement was issued by Clements regarding his NASCAR suspension:
“I apologize and regret what I said to the NASCAR writer and to NASCAR, my sponsors, my fans, and my team. NASCAR has a Code of Conduct that everyone must follow and I unintentionally violated that code. I will not get into specifics of what I said but my comment to the writer was in no way meant to be disrespectful or insensitive to anyone or to be detrimental to NASCAR or the NASCAR Nationwide Series. I will do what I need to do in order to atone for my error in judgment."

That sounds like a textbook apology written by a PR flak. Don't think it's going to win over anybody, Jeremy.

Because he was a backmarker driver that didn't really represent the sport in any way (I honestly have never seen him interviewed in all my time watching the sport), it will have a limited effect on the sport as a whole, though some on the outside will interpret it (wrongly) to mean that the entire sport is living up to its bigoted past.

Hopefully that's not how most people take it, though, especially since NASCAR is having a zero tolerance policy here. By not letting Clements race for a while, NASCAR is doing the right thing. It's not just good PR, it's the proper thing to do when stupidity rears its ugly head.

As for Clements — he didn't have much of a career to start with; and it's a safe bet he won't have one from now on either.


Here's the full release from NASCAR on his suspension.

"Jeremy Clements, a driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body’s Code of Conduct.
On Feb. 23 at Daytona International Speedway, Clements was found to have violated Sections 7-5 (NASCAR’s Code of Conduct) and 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing).
“During the course of an interview, Jeremy Clements made an intolerable and insensitive remark,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “NASCAR has a Code of Conduct that’s explicitly spelled out in the 2013 NASCAR Rule Book. We fully expect our entire industry to adhere to that Code.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's so surprising? The NFL and NBA have been censoring their players and coaches for years.

February 27, 2013 at 4:25 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the hell did he say?

February 27, 2013 at 5:02 PM 
Blogger Matt Myftiu said...

No word yet what he said, but it better be pretty terrible for him to deserve an indefinite suspension. Otherwise NASCAR is overstepping its bounds here.

February 27, 2013 at 5:04 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The NASCAR Nazis have spoken. You can't say anything without our prior approval. No free thinking allowed.

February 27, 2013 at 6:08 PM 
Anonymous Danny said...

Racial slurs are not "free thinking".

February 27, 2013 at 8:50 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given the fact that Jeremy Clements is from South Carolina, my guess would be that he truly didn't realize the offensiveness of the racial slur he uttered during the interview. He would do well to study the racial history of his state to better educate himself as to why his remarks were so offensive to NASCAR.

A short history is presented below.

We all know that South Carolina has a dismal history when it comes to how it’s treated African-Americans, but few are aware just how racist South Carolina’s history really is.

There are few places in America that have treated Native Americans as brutally. South Carolinians were the largest slave traders of Native Americans in the Americas. The peaceful Cherokee were either enslaved, driven out of the state, or murdered.

South Carolina became the wealthiest of the thirteen colonies because of the African slave trade. Charleston Harbor was the main entry point for bringing slaves into the country. No other colony relied on slaves more, and soon blacks outnumbered whites. By 1760 Charleston was the richest town in America. Despite its wealth, residents lived in constant fear of slave revolts and resorted to draconian measures to keep their slaves in submission.

After the Stono Rebellion occurred in 1740, one of the deadliest slave revolts in the nation’s history, South Carolina reacted with the slave codes. Because the rebellion was led by educated blacks, laws were put into place that prohibited blacks from meeting and mandated that their children wouldn’t be allowed schooling. In the Twentieth Century, South Carolina would have the largest percentage of its people in America who couldn’t read or write, mainly due to its determination to keep blacks uneducated.

The Scottish Rite was created in direct response to the successful slave revolution in Haiti. Its original location is at Shepherd’s Tavern in Charleston. The Scottish Rite led the anti-Catholic, anti-immigration Americanism movement that revived the KKK. They became enormously powerful. In 1928 for example, 59 United States Senators and 317 members of the House of Representatives were 33 degree members of the Scottish Rite. Later, the exclusive club fought against integration and the Civil Rights movement.

The first Baptist church in the South was formed in Charleston, South Carolina. Southern Baptists supported slavery and believed that biblical scripture supported it. It wasn’t until recently, that the church moved away from this position.

On April 12th, 1861 cadets from The Citadel fired the first shots against the United States at Ft. Sumter, South Carolina. That was when South Carolina became the first state to commit treason and leave the nation due to its absolute support of slavery.

Walk through Charleston and you’ll run into the Confederate Museum run by the Daughters of the Confederacy. It’s disturbing how many Confederate memorials there are, but since the Confederate flag flies over the state’s capital, it is not really surprising.

You’ll also see people flying a blue flag with a crescent moon and a Palmetto tree on it. That’s the flag for the Palmetto Republic. People who fly it are calling for the independence of South Carolina.

Organizations like The League of the South call for the independence of the old South, along with the repeal of affirmative action, attacks on immigration, the revitalization of Anglo-Celtic culture, and the return to a white Christian state.

February 27, 2013 at 10:31 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you need to open your eyes to what is going on in America today and instead of spewing your lies about South Carolinas history.
African Americans make up only 13 % of the United States. Yet, over 55 % of our jail population is black, over 55% of the people living with HIV in America are Black, and they make up over 50 % of the welfare and food stamp recipients. New York City is only 25 % Black but the blacks commit over 68 % of the crime. This is the norm in all of the cities in America. Less than 1% of Americans actually owned slaves in America, when it was legal, and the first person to ever legally own a slave in America was a black man named, Anthony Johnson. If you don’t believe what I am saying, just research it for yourself. Quit believing everything you watch on TV, because we cannot fix the problems in America unless we know the Truth. Can you name me one black civilization in the entire world that is prospering? South Africa, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Detroit, Birmingham, New Orleans, Memphis, Chicago, and the list can go on and on.

February 28, 2013 at 1:39 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the comments here are as ignorant as the comments by Clements. NASCAR is a business now and not some redneck sport. If one of my employees did that I'd fire them. Period.

February 28, 2013 at 3:08 AM 
Blogger Bobby said...

A questionable racial slur is often used by people of the race that is often "insulted" by the slur as a compliment, but others cannot use, and in this case, we have a double standard (see the appearance of Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson in the paddock at Daytona; rappers are known to use a specific slur in their songs continuously, but if a person of another ethnicity uses it, they will be punished).

In fact, it may be the same word used in the title of a legendary Agatha Christie mystery that had its name changed twice because of racial concerns.

The word is too often used in school by children as a result of the rappers. Who was the journalist in question? Was it one of those "trying to hang with the homies" types and he tried to bring "street cred," as it is called?

February 28, 2013 at 7:22 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So why is it ok to use the word redneck but not the n word. Got to love the double standard. The fact is the liberal way of thinking is destroying our freedom in America. Can't say this or can't have a gun and you can't have a soda over 16 ounces.where every kid gets a trophy even though they lost so nobody's feelings get hurt. Kids being upset by a bully and then commet suicide. Can't people see how this liberal way of thinking is making American weak on all levels of life and in all races
And everyone of us has used bad language at sometime in our life. Should we all br demonized for it. As human beings we all we have short comings. For the one of you without sin cast the stone. But noone could for we all live in a glass house. And I live in south carolina. Is what the guy said about us in this state not racists or calling somebody a redneck.You liberal godless people make ashamed of what our country has become. A bunch of whinny,feel sorry for me dummy's.

February 28, 2013 at 7:56 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeremy Clements is getting suspended for the same thing we pay Chris Rock millions of dollars to do.

February 28, 2013 at 8:53 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My guess is since he said it was not describe a person that he said n****r rigged... With the speculation that he was talking how Nascar "fixed" the pole for Danica... Just a guess or something along those lines.

February 28, 2013 at 10:00 AM 
Blogger Matt Myftiu said...

That's a pretty good guess, I'd say. (and if they won't say what he said, we'll just have to guess). ... Regardless of what was said exactly, the one thing everyone should be able to agree on is that he was pretty stupid to do it.

February 28, 2013 at 10:03 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"African Americans make up only 13 % of the United States. Yet, over 55 % of our jail population is black, over 55% of the people living with HIV in America are Black, and they make up over 50 % of the welfare and food stamp recipients."

This is a bit like saying "men" make up about half the world population but the overwhelming majority of our prison population and our unprisoned criminal population.

The problem isn't "blacks," it's men!

(Or we can stop making stupid claims like this and begin to see individuals as individuals.)

February 28, 2013 at 10:16 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He said something about the cars being "nigger-rigged", is what I've been hearing.

February 28, 2013 at 11:04 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honest innocent mistake on Jeremy's part I believe. NASCAR sucks for thinking they have to monitor, govern and rule on every damn thing said or done. #NASCARSUCKS

February 28, 2013 at 11:07 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A questionable racial slur is often used by people of the race that is often "insulted" by the slur as a compliment, but others cannot use, and in this case, we have a double standard (see the appearance of Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson in the paddock at Daytona; rappers are known to use a specific slur in their songs continuously, but if a person of another ethnicity uses it, they will be punished)."

Sorry Bobby. I am Black and I do not use the word nor would I allow it from anyone I know or in my home. We are all individuals with the right to think and say what we want, but don't be so ignorant that you can't realize that there are consequences.

March 1, 2013 at 11:44 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nazi-Nascar is like most crappy Corporations, drones full of PC. I've quit watching the crappy racing!

March 2, 2013 at 12:30 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NASCAR is so protective of their identity with minorities now because they don't want to obtain any types of labels. Geez, they will probably do a silent lap for Chavez!

March 6, 2013 at 11:28 AM 

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