It wasn’t long after that a few other tracks started to adopt this policy as well. Some felt this is a violation of their freedom of speech, while some felt it was a sign that the track doesn’t have a good open line of communication between themselves and their participants.
Some just thought it was a stupid policy. Why can’t we say what we want to say about something without getting into trouble?
The simple answer is that it’s all about the image that the track/series wants portrayed to the public, and they expect their participants to adhere to that image if they want to participate in their particular sport.
This is not something being singled out in short track racing, in fact, some feel that short track racing is catching up to everyone else.
With today’s world allowing for more knee-jerk reactions and too quick to judge before getting the whole story society, social media and message boards have become a petri dish of what people are feeling about things.
Sadly, many feel that those with a negative opinion speak up more than those with a positive opinion. Along with the fact that negative opinion/news gets more views than something that is positive being posted on the internet.
This is something not just happening in auto racing, but also in other sports. The difference this time is that NASCAR and other sports are stepping up to react when comments are spoken or written, and most of the time what someone may see or read as a minor comment, the organizations/sanctioning bodies are not tolerating it.
Hope Solo, the goalkeeper on USA’s Women’s soccer team, just was suspended for six months for comments she made on how Sweden played in their Olympic match, in which Team USA lost and were eliminated from the tournament. Granted, she was suspended for 30 days in 2015 for her conduct, U.S. Soccer wanted to send a message.
“The comments by Hope Solo after the match against Sweden during the 2016 Olympics were unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati in a press release. “Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect. We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions.”
It’s not just the Olympics that “celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect,” it is all sports for that matter.
Yes, Solo is an American citizen and does have first amendment rights, but basically those rights are given up when she chose to participate in U.S. Soccer matches and therefore must abide by their rules as a participant. This also includes adapting to the image that U.S. Soccer wants their teams to portray at all times.
Darrell Wallace Jr. was reminded of the policy he must adhere to with NASCAR this past July for his comments after an Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway where he criticized officials on a call that was made at the end of the race. Wallace was fined $15,000 for his comments that was on his personal Twitter account.
A few months before that, Tony Stewart was slapped with a $35,000 fine for his comments about lug nuts. The irony with his situation is that NASCAR made changes to their rules about it. But he was fined about how he addressed the matter in the public eye.
It just doesn’t revolve around rules or criticism of how a team plays; it is also coming down to how one athlete doesn’t respect another athlete on the field of play.
Richard Chaplow, a soccer player for the Orange County Blues FC was recently suspended two games and fined an undisclosed amount for calling gay epithets to gay soccer play Robbie Rogers.
“The USL has a zero tolerance for this type of behavior,” Jake Edwards, President of the USL said in a press release. “We cannot, nor will we, condone any language that is counter to the values we have instilled throughout the USL.”
The precedence is already out there, and now it is time to instill the same values at our short tracks.
Promoters need to step up and start fining or suspending owners, drivers, and crew members more than just fighting in the pits or on the track. Promoters need to start penalizing for comments made to the media and on social media, and make sure the public is aware of it.
The same values of competition that is shown in other sports, especially in light of the recent Olympics, need to be brought in at a higher degree in the short track community.
The amount of respect needs to be brought up to a higher level.
At the same time, those who are complaining about a call made by an official or anything similar needs to ask themselves this question…how often have you seen an umpire change his mind on a third call strike to a ball because you didn’t see it the same way?
Taking a call made on the track to social media won’t change the call that was made. The milk has been spilt.
There also has to be a call made to anyone who operates a short track racing message board. While you are providing an area for people to speak freely about any topic, those people should also have to identify who they are and not hide behind fake names and their keyboard just to stir up controversy for their own personal amusement.
People are passionate about this sport and they will show it when someone is trolling around on a message board, hiding their true identity, trying to upset those who are not afraid to share their own identity. If there is something nice about Facebook, you can’t really hide who you are, and if you do, Facebook can shut you down.
In fact, Twitter just banned a journalist who was trolling one of the regulars on Saturday Night Live. Message board owners need to step up and do the same.
Either you make people fill out a legitimate profile and have a verification process or just shut down your message board. While you are offering a community for people to chat, a few are taking advantage and hurting that community.
The spirit of competition can be seen in every sport. The values of fair play and respect have always been at the forefront of any sport. Those values get tarnished by a few who forget those values. Those who do forget, need to be reminded by penalties and, in the end, are examples for others within their sport.