May he find the peace he sought.
One of the primary reasons I’ve been quite inactive the past few years stems from how, in my raging glory days, one of my stocks in trade was doing battle with assorted mainstream journalists. It was the Bloggers Code: speak truth to power and call out people, regardless of their professional position, whose words offended ones sensibilities and/or intelligence. Skipping the lengthy How Life Got In The Way Of Being Diecast Dude soliloquy, suffice it to say interest in butting heads with MSM has significantly waned over the years. Being nice kills a lot of potential material.
This said, yesterday a Sporting News article caught my eye for all the wrong reasons and cries out for comment. I note it wasn’t the article itself, but… well, we’ll get to that in a minute.
Jennifer Jo Cobb has been scuffling around the lower rungs of Nationwide and the truck series for a few years. No one has ever mistaken her for the next Janet Guthrie; since her first Nationwide race in 2004, between it and the Camping World Truck Series she has eighty-five starts with a whopping one Top Ten finish to show for her efforts. She’s made far more news off the track than on, most famously for refusing orders from the team she was driving for at the time to play the start and park game. Cobb has cobbled together her own team out of bubble gum, bailing wire and a prayer in the truck series, which itself is presently held together by not much more. She’s made all four — yes, four — races this year, never a factor but pressing on nonetheless.
Back to the article itself, written by Bob Pockrass. It is professional from start to last, detailing a transport stolen from Cobb’s team and as background some tangled legal history and wrangling between Cobb and among others Mike Harmon, fellow NASCAR scuffler and once upon a time Cobb’s Nationwide team manager. The situation is a mess; one best left for the courts to decide.
So no, there’s no problem with the story or its author. Where things go awry is with whoever decided which picture of Cobb to run with the story. Behold:
Could there have been a more unflattering, insulting, hey-look-at-the-crazy-woman photo selected?
C’mon, people. The media’s job isn’t to make people look like dolts. It’s to report facts and let the public decide without manipulating them in one direction or another. Running such a photo is not only a disservice to Cobb. It’s a disservice to Pockrass’ solid reporting.
SN could have gone with a photo like this:
Or, like this:
Or even this:
Again, c’mon people. A little professionalism here, okay?
PS: Of course, there’s always this photo…
Because I can. And because I like Danica.
Whether those who attend sporting events at Madison Square Garden can actually tell time is a subject for another post.
(All photos courtesy Tissot.)
And not in terms of popularity.
I’m thinking more of the Sports Illustrated cover from earlier this year with Jim McMahon, larger than life personality and Super Bowl winning quarterback on that incomparable Chicago Bears team from the mid 1980s, hiding behind his usual sunglasses that in this case not only protected his hypersensitive to light right eye, left that way after a childhood accident, but also attempted to disguise a man in the early stages of dementia.
A 53 year old man.
All due to concussions.
Obviously there are huge differences between the weekly direct pounding a NFL player endures and the three to four hours of G-force grind, occasionally punctuated by pounding of either a wall or a competitor, plus a delicious dish of carbon monoxide on the side, that is the NASCAR driver’s weekly routine. For one thing, the NFL is absent team owners pounding down shooters as they contemplate another six figure racing machine instantly reduced to a rolling scrap heap being dragged into the hauler post-wreck… er, post-race. Seven figure quarterbacks with knees reduced to scrap, yes. But I digress.
With the advances made in driver safety since 2001 — the car itself, the HANS device — NASCAR has taken huge strides in eliminating the potential for basal skull fractures such as what killed Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin Jr. and Dale Earnhardt. However, at the speeds NASCAR reaches there is no way to prevent a driver’s brain from slapping around inside their skull when there’s a violent impact regardless of whether their helmet strikes anything. It simply cannot be done. NASCAR knows this. All that can be done is pack as much energy absorption into the car as possible so that when there is a collision it’s not the same as it used to be in stock cars, where the idea was reinforce the car as much as possible so it would structurally withstand most anything. Which worked, to a point. The problem was this philosophy bore an uncomfortable resemblance to what would happen if you built a birdcage out of tubular steel, put a bird inside and then smacked the cage with a baseball bat. The cage would be fine. However, the energy created by the blow would have to be transferred somewhere. Guess where it’d wind up? If the cage isn’t moving, and there’s only one thing that is moveable… bye bye birdie.
Certainly NASCAR cannot afford to have its drivers drooling into a cup or incapable of remembering their own names at an age well before they become eligible for Social Security. Having the unquestioned straw that stirs the NASCAR drink sidelined by a concussion is brutal on ticket sales and viewership, so of course the sport will do whatever it can to prevent this from happening again. Unfortunately, unless it’s willing to reduce maximum speed at all races to 5 MPH, there is nothing to be done except pray.
More from Examiner.com on the ongoing saga revolving around Blake Koch, Rise Up and Register & ESPN:
Rise Up and Register charged with being at fault for ad not
being aired on ESPN
The story of Rise Up and Register, sponsor of Blake Koch’s #41 Rick Ware Racing entry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and Koch’s ad for Rise Up and Register which ESPN rejected, is growing more complicated. Information has been made public that ESPN reversed its decision to not run the ad, but Rise Up and Register’s subsequent failure to fulfill its financial obligations to ESPN and others is the root cause for the ad not presently being on ESPN’s schedule.
Rick Shaftan of Mountaintop Media, a media consulting and client representation firm, stated in a phone conversation today that earlier this year, following ESPN’s original rejection of the ad he was contacted by another agency, which was working with Rise Up and Register. Mountaintop Media never dealt directly with Rise Up and Register.
Mr. Shaftan contacted ESPN, with whom he has worked on behalf of other clients, and convinced them in what Mr. Shaftan characterized as tough negotiations that the ad in and of itself did not violate ESPN’s content standards. ESPN reversed its initial decision to not run the ad. Following ESPN’s decision, Mr. Shaftan negotiated an agreement with ESPN stating that Rise Up and Register promised to purchase thirty weeks of air time for the ad at a price of $900,000. The organization agreed to pay up front for the air time purchase. Subsequent to the agreement being reached, ESPN notified Mr. Shaftan that Rise Up and Register had failed to make good on its promised payment to the network.
Mr. Shaftan continued by noting that the agreement was not reached in time for the ad to begin running during the second NASCAR Nationwide Series race of the year, the Bashas’ Supermarket 200 at Phoenix International Raceway, but was in place for the series’ following race, the Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The ad ran during ESPN’s broadcast of the race; however, it is not clear whether the ad was part of ESPN’s national broadcast or run by local providers during the race.
Dennis Michelsen of Race Talk Radio has reported that Rise Up and Register has failed to make payment to Rick Ware Racing for sponsorship of the car at the next scheduled race for which it had previously agreed to serve as primary sponsor, the race in question being the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, April 13th. Mr. Michelsen adds that the team is preparing Koch’s car for the race with the American flag decals it has previously run, but minus the Rise Up and Register logo.
A phone message for Rise Up and Register has been left.
Continue reading on Examiner.com Rise Up and Register charged with being at fault for ad not being aired on ESPN – National Motorsports | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/motorsports-in-national/rise-up-and-register-charged-with-being-at-fault-for-ad-not-being-aired-on-espn#ixzz1qkVFn3vV
New — no really, I swear it’s true — at Examiner.com:
NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Blake Koch’s
sponsor’s ad rejected by ESPN
NASCAR driver Blake Koch, who drives the #41 Rick Ware Racing entry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, has found himself in a unique situation when it comes to the promotion of his car’s primary sponsor. While car sponsorship and advertising go hand in hand for most drivers, teams, and broadcasters, with drivers routinely appearing in commercials for their sponsors which are then aired during the race by whichever network is broadcasting the event, Koch’s ad for his primary sponsor, the voter registration group Rise Up and Register, is not following suit following ESPN’s refusal to air the ad during its broadcasts of NASCAR Nationwide Series events. ESPN’s stated reason for rejecting the ad was “political and religious overtones.”
Koch, who finished second in the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year competition to RWR teammate Timmy Hill, was informed of ESPN’s decision in a voice message, left for his father, by ESPN Senior Vice President Rosa Gatti. Ms. Gatti said (text courtesy Race Talk Radio), “It was declined for political and religious overtones, which we avoid by all of our standards. We looked at the website, you know, as well as Blake’s website, and do see the religious aspects of this. So those are the reasons.”
It was originally reported that Rise Up and Register had, as a result of ESPN’s refusal to air the ad, pulled its sponsorship from Koch’s car. A spokesperson for the organization has stated to Dennis Michelsen of Race Talk Radio that this is not the case, noting the organization has not changed its plans to serve as the car’s primary sponsor for twenty races in 2012 (the NASCAR Nationwide Series season contains thirty-three races) and will return as the primary sponsor for the next race on the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule, the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 to be held at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, April 13th.
The mission of Rise Up And Register, based in Alexandria, Virginia, as stated on its Facebook page is to “register over one million new voters this year to help become part of the solution to saving our great nation.” The organization does not promote any specific party or candidate, nor does it promote any religious beliefs in and of itself. The organization’s website has a link for those interested in having Koch speak at their church, but does not promote this as a ministerial outreach; rather, it is designated as an effort toward voter registration.
Koch is open about his faith. As noted on his website, “The 2012-2013 NASCAR Season is all about reaching out to NASCAR fans with the message of the Gospel. Blake will be speaking and sharing his testimony in churches all across America. Blake is strong encouragement to young and old and he shares the challenges of Christian life as a top NASCAR driver, and the ultimate victory in Christ.”
FOX, which televises the first thirteen NASCAR Sprint Cup races of the season, has run the ad during its broadcasts.
ESPN’s decision is curious in light of both the open embrace of faith NASCAR permits at every race, with chapel events for the drivers on race morning and an opening prayer prior to the National Anthem before the race gets underway, and ESPN’s own spotty record when it comes to its broadcasters making their political views known. In August of last year, golf analyst Paul Azinger was publicly scolded for criticizing President Obama on Twitter, yet a tweet two months earlier by SportsCenter anchor Kenny Mayne stating “almost rammed car with palin bumper sticker. with intent.. held up..coulda been kids in car” passed without comment from the network.
Koch, who with his wife Shannon is expecting the birth of a son in the next few months, is currently twentieth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series points standings.
Continue reading on Examiner.com NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Blake Koch’s sponsor’s ad rejected by ESPN – National Motorsports | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/motorsports-in-national/nascar-nationwide-series-driver-blake-koch-s-sponsor-s-ad-rejected-by-espn#ixzz1qfnN1dVV