You know it is frustrating for hockey fans in Canada that their pride and joy is not more than a fringe sport throughout much of the United States. It is growing a little in popularity, but still the only time it seems to hit the radar of the mainstream media in the US is when something goes horribly wrong (Marty McSorley, Todd Bertuzzi for two examples).
While those incidents are not forgivable, and definitely a black eye on the sport, something happened in another major North America sport this past weekend that really bothered me, and apparently not a lot of others.
While the NHL and NASCAR are both considered high speed, contact sports, there seems to be more acceptance of misdeeds by NASCAR drivers, and they are lucky someone hasn’t been killed.
Because while hockey is largely man to man, hand to hand combat when the disagreements arise, NASCAR drivers seem to enjoy using the 3,400 lbs of metal underneath them to settle differences. It happened this past weekend at the race on Sunday, the Nascar Sprint Cup Auto Club 400 race.
Granted, I have little more than a passing interest in NASCAR, as seeing drivers turn left for 400 or 500 miles isn’t my idea of an enjoyable Sunday afternoon. Maybe I don’t get it, or appreciate it, but that is just me. There are plenty of you out there that do, so more power to you, its your choice. However, every so often I do tune in to a few laps just to see what the fuss is about.
During Sunday’s race I was flipping around and caught the last couple of laps of the NASCAR race. The final lap featured a crash between Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin, who were battling for the race lead. Logano clipped Hamlin and Hamlin spun out and crashed his car.
I know, like Robert Duvall said, “rubbin’ is racin’,” right? Just two “good old boys” going for a win, at all costs. Well you would think so, and accidents do happen at high speeds. That explains some of the popularity of the sport. That is, until you read the quotes from Logano after the race. From Fansided.com:
“He (Hamlin) probably shouldn’t have done what he did last week, so that’s what he gets,”
There was obviously intent, so I did a little looking back to find out why. It turns out these two drivers were former teammates who have recently crossed paths with some bad blood and they have developed quite the feud over time.
However, it appeared to me from an outsider’s point of view that Logano decided that getting some measure of revenge was more important than winning the race. Whatever, that is his choice.
However, the result of the crash was a broken back for Hamelin.
Yet there is no Bertuzzi-like outrage among media members, especially the U.S. media who made such a big deal out of the Todd Bertuzzi and Marty McSorely incidents and basically put the game of hockey on trial.
Logano is no better than Bertuzzi or McSorely, and in fact, is probably even worse because he outright admitted it was intentional and that he essentially gave Hamlin what he deserved. At least McSorley and Bertuzzi showed some form of sympathy and regret after their respective incidents with Donald Brashear and Steve Moore.
Where is the media crying out for NASCAR to ban Logano for life from the sport, as they did to McSorley and Bertuzzi? At least in hockey for the most part, rightly or wrongly, challenges are issued and answered man to man. To my knowledge Logano or his crew did not radio Hamlin and his crew to challenge him to a duel going down the backstretch, or let him know what was coming. No he used his 3,400 pound car as a weapon and nearly killed his adversary.
Rubbin’ is racin’? Well you can have it.
I’m sticking with puck.