Thursday, July 3, 2008

TV Partners Strangely Quiet Where Grant Is Concerned - UNTIL NOW


UPDATE: ESPN has revealed that they have Mauricia Grant as an exclusive on-camera interview as a part of the Outside The Lines series. They played excerpts from Grant today on ESPNEWS and also during the live Nationwide practice session at 5:30PM. This issue relates directly to the Nationwide Series. More info will follow shortly

Just when things seemed to be quieting down about the Mauricia Grant lawsuit, an article by veteran NASCAR journalist Matt McLaughlin has come along.

Most fans have read the original story, the follow-up interviews and even the response from NASCAR.

At The Daly Planet, we tried to suggest that the sanctioning body stop allowing Brian France to speak directly to this topic until he was better informed. No such luck, as this column details.

The number one thing that NASCAR wants to do at Daytona is walk-out the door on Saturday night with Ms. Grant and her lawsuit never having been a topic. Judging from the NASCAR media's response to the issue, that is entirely possible.

This is a new area for the NASCAR Internet, radio and TV bunch to deal with. These veterans have handled racing stories of tremendous success and horrible tragedy with professionalism and maturity over the years. As a group, they originate hundreds of stories a week and many hours of both radio and TV content. The Grant lawsuit is very different from their regular "news beat."

Here is the link to the McLaughlin story. The key element for us is the following paragraph:

"In his handling of the allegations, France has once again shown himself to be the Great Bumblini. The racing press may be willing to sweep this one under the carpet but the mainstream attack media, folks like 60 Minutes and 20/20 will not. Doubtless they smell blood in the water and potential Emmys for investigative reporting on the “Good Old Boy” culture of NASCAR. It ain’t going to be pretty."

McLaughlin's point is that right now the issue of the lawsuit is in the laps of the traveling NASCAR media. While others may write to the topic, they do not have access to the key individuals involved in the lawsuit and knowledge of the overall culture that has been called into question. Eventually, this will change.

Lurking behind the familiar faces of David Poole and Marty Smith and Wendy Venturini is an entirely different group of reporters. They do not care about Joey Logano, how the COT turns or the overall health of the sport.

What they care about is primetime TV ratings for their own individual shows. They will do and say almost anything to win the TV ratings race. Many of them make millions of dollars a year and enjoy the publicity that their high-profile media positions have brought them.

What used to be called the mainstream media is now a fractured group of Internet-dominated TV personalities who are challenged to fill 24 hours a day both online and on the cable TV news networks. Despite the reality of the world, the media monster must be fed and Mauricia Grant is looking like a lot more than just a snack.

As McLaughlin intimates, the damage that can be done to this sport by programs like 60 Minutes, Dateline and even Nancy Grace on CNN is simply huge. Looking at this story from outside the sport and reading the allegations in the lawsuit make it a great target for a wide variety of TV programs from news magazines to tabloid series.

In the business world, we see professionals called-in to handle public relations crisis management. We see media professionals enlisted to manage the messages that are communicated worldwide on TV and the Internet. This is a specific set of skills that is learned with time and experience.

While it has been Internet stories that have played a major role in this issue to date, things are about to jump over to the television side of the media and that change is going to be dramatic.

Perhaps, before something very ugly happens on TV and a media feeding frenzy begins, NASCAR might consider bringing in some professionals to manage this issue for the overall health of the sport in this very tough season. In the veteran perspectives of several public relations professionals, the clock is ticking.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thank you for taking time out of your day to stop by and leave your opinion.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

John there is really nothing new to report about the case. So why should people continue to hear about it if nothing is new?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Because once a tabloid show or a network news magazine decides to air all the allegations on national tv, it is going to be a mess.

They do not care that there is nothing new. They do not need Grant to be in the report. They do not need her lawyer, or even anyone from NASCAR.

Unless NASCAR gets proactive about sending out a message that resonates with the general public, it will not matter if nothing more is released on the entire issue.

Take a moment to read the lawsuit, which is public information. Do you not think there are several network news magazine shows right now knocking on Grant's door for the exclusive first TV interview?

Lots of businesses run up against issues like this. True or not, being publicly proactive and letting professionals handle the media is the key.

One more video of Brian France with tossled hair and no tie slouched at a chair while addressing a muli-million dollar lawsuit full of horrible allegations is not going to help the cause.

JD

jason said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jason said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jo said...

I'm actually surprised not one of the tabloids or tabloid shows have picked up on this story yet.
This is the "slow season" no NFL yet, NBA over, MLB not near to post season - so I thought that the story would be the lawsuit, but so far nothing.
In fact none of the news networks have touched it - except to report it when it was filed.

As a fan I expected the full tilt bashfest. Especially with the way Brian France presented himself on TV. I'm kind of shocked at how bad he looked, and how unprepared he was.

Infact the silence has been deafening.

JD since you have worked in the media I was wondering, could the media be a bit snake bit after the Duke story?

dwight said...

The first comment asks why there should be stories when there is nothing new to report. ESPN and SPEED have never really reported on this story at all. If they invested a small percentage of the time that they spend on “silly season” issues in this story, surely Marty Smith or David Newton or someone could address some of the questions raised by the allegations made in this lawsuit. Tim Cowlishaw works for a real newspaper, maybe he knows how to do an investigative story. Just having Brad Daugherty stand there once and unconvincingly state that he knows this couldn't have happened isn't very good journalism or very convincing.

NASCAR's record on race isn't quite sterling. The only time a black driver won a race, they ran a couple of extra laps so a white guy could go to victory lane instead. The only question is whether they intended to straighten it out the next week or if their hand was forced. The only thing we know about their internal investigation of this matter is that at least two people got suspended.

There is a lot of investigation which should be done, and people to talk to. For starters I'd like to see someone talk to Bill Lester and see if he will talk about his experience in NASCAR. Someone could go through the results of the races he competed in and see how often he got wrecked in the early going, and compare that with how often other drivers crashed out that early. Interviews where Ms. Grant used to work would help a person form an opinion about her credibility.

I've been around long enough to know there are people capable of doing the things which she says happened to her. An employer which is trying to change its profile would make sure that this kind of behavior was stamped out, or at least dealt with when it happened. If the “NASCAR partners” were real news organizations, they'd get on top of this before they get embarrassed too.

Tracy said...

I'm really disappointed that someone like Nate Ryan, who ruffled many feathers with his report a while back about falling TV ratings, hasn't done something with this story. I've always thought he was fearless.

I'm guessing that the regular reporters have decided that Nascar fans don't want to hear about the lawsuit. Silly Season and the COT are the main topics because that's what the viewers want. It'll be the"outside" media, as JD says, that'll make this story into a first class horror show.

red said...

tracy said: I'm guessing that the regular reporters have decided that Nascar fans don't want to hear about the lawsuit.

i'm not certain who's made that decision but i agree a decision has been made. as a fan, i'm interested in this story but in my opinion, nascar just doesn't want this to be a topic for discussion or reporting. so its not.
i agree that it will take media outside the sport to bring this story to completion -- although i had hoped that would happen with the drug testing policy story and, as jd notes in another column, we're still waiting on that one.

Anonymous said...

The "NASCAR media" isn't sitting on anything. When you have a lawsuit, you've got people on both sides trying to give you their persepectives. As a reporter, you try to give both sides a fair airing knowing that what somebody tells you and what they can actually use if you go to court. If NASCAR puts on a big PR effort, nobody's going to write about that just like a responsible journalist isn't going to print unsubstantiated stuff from the other side because it might want to apply pressure to encourage a settlement. The "NASCAR media," at least the good part of it, is trying to play it down the middle. Fans should want that. -- DAVID POOLE

Anonymous said...

Mr. Poole--

Good reporters don't wait to be spoon-fed information.

They go find it themselves. And it doesn't have to be "unsubstantiated."

I realize that journalists cover NASCAR are used to being "given" their stories, but sometimes, you need to work a little harder and dig up the background yourself.

And I dispute that the "NASCAR media" are "playing it down the middle." That's simply not true.

They're running from the story as fast as they can, afraid of offending the NASCAR management or casting their favorite sport (let's face it, sportswriters are fans, first--that's why they became sportswriters!) in a bad light.

If this lawsuit were based in any other industry, your newspaper would be all over it.

Jo said...

Anonymous said...
The "NASCAR media" isn't sitting on anything. When you have a lawsuit, you've got people on both sides trying to give you their persepectives. As a reporter, you try to give both sides a fair airing knowing that what somebody tells you and what they can actually use if you go to court. If NASCAR puts on a big PR effort, nobody's going to write about that just like a responsible journalist isn't going to print unsubstantiated stuff from the other side because it might want to apply pressure to encourage a settlement. The "NASCAR media," at least the good part of it, is trying to play it down the middle. Fans should want that. -- DAVID POOLE

July 3, 2008 7:01 AM

Dear Media & David Poole,

Silence is not playing it down the middle. Please feel free to investigate both sides, the claims made & the person making them.
Have any media people heard this kind of vile junk going on? How about the NASCAR "sensivity" & non discrimination classes? Do these classes exist? ongoing or a 1 time shot? Is Ms. Grant an upstanding member in her community, or is her past questionable? What is her work history? Troubled or sterling?
In between? Has NASCAR been informed of this kind of behavior before? By her? Others? Has anyone talked to other minority officials who have left? Other past employees who have been fired?
Was Brian telling the truth about not knowing the lawsuit was forth coming? Did she and / or her lawyer try to get their attention and fail?

As I recall it happens in every high profile case there is some reporter with enough stones to look into the backgrounds of both parties & report. Giving readers or viewers a feel for both parties involved. Right now the stereotype of NASCAR is re inforced & according to Brian she sounds like a delusional gold digger who he is divorcing.

Silence only serves to let this slip into the abyss - never to see the light of day. Making NASCAR very happy.

Responsible journalism requires effort, and stones. I have seen neither yet.

Could it be you?

Rockin Rich said...

Wow! Was the Anon @ 7:01 AM really David Poole, or someone else usurping his identity?

I am really torn with this anonymous ID thing. I agree that it encourages "frank" dialog. But, does it discourage participation by well known people who identify themselves, then get their reputations hacked, (in both the actual, and the computer sense)?

I realize this comment isn't tightly on subject, but it does relate, (loosely), to the subject of media coverage.

Anonymous said...

I agree about Smith and Wendy but strongly disagree about David Poole. If there are facts to be covered, he will do it. David is a news person first and his paper will help him go where the facts lead him. David is not a speculator, not a cheerleader, not a shill, like DW, MW and the likes. He will call it as he sees it, based on facts.
The case has not been schedlued for any perliminary items, such as depositions so there is really no news. Why push it until the time comes.
Trust me, this will not be swept under the rug.
It needs to be pointed out that Ms. Grant, who appears to have a heck of a case, did not report this to any superior. Anyone who has been in the work place since 1992 knows this is the first step. IT will be difficult for some person to accuse nascar, and I'm not a fan of the Frances, especially "Sonny Drysdale" Brian, of not reacting when she never reported the alligations.
This will be the key part of the case and both sets of attorneys know this.
Also, which Federal District hears the case. There are a lot of variables.
Patience.

Shayne said...

I can see a show like HBO's "Real Sports" doing a segment on the allegations and pending lawsuit.

The media could easily manipulate this story in whatever direction they see fit.

It might be tough to get NASCAR officials to comment on the case.

NASCAR fans would give the media plenty to work with.

Imagine the cameras in the infield on a Saturday night.

It usually is quiet before a big storm.

Shayne

Anonymous said...

It needs to be pointed out that Ms. Grant, who appears to have a heck of a case, did not report this to any superior.

The complaint says she did, and was rebuffed.

red said...

anon 8:19 A said: Trust me, this will not be swept under the rug. . .
It needs to be pointed out that Ms. Grant, who appears to have a heck of a case, did not report this to any superior.

and this is an example of why, as a fan, i have serious doubts about how this story has been reported. anon 8:19 states that ms. grant did not bring her complaints to a superior. her legal statement clearly indicates that she did, in fact, complain and within two weeks, was being reprimanded via phone by nascar hr person for poor job performance. at the very least, there is a conflict in the statements of the parties involved.
as i posted earlier, i find it very interesting that france has not, in fact, categorically denied the accusations. instead, he is taking the route that "we didn't know about them" and "she didn't report them" and placing the responsibility for the behavior continuing on the plantiff.

as for "trust me, this will not be swept under the rug": i cannot share in that confidence. based on the response by nascar to date. i continue to believe that nascar will do anything possible to keep this story under the rug. i find myself in agreement with anon 7:57 and jo. i complained -- and continue to complain -- about nascar's response to the drug testing issue and this case is a continuation of the "we don't have a problem and if we do, we'll examine the situation and decide what to do" stance. that combined with the "it's only a few people who are doing this" response makes me wonder just how far into the sand heads have been plunged.

the drug testing story and the grant story are parts of the same story, just different chapters. it's far easy to say that aaron fike and shane hmeil and tyler walker (and who knows how many others) are just a "few bad apples" and that ms. grant is just a disgruntled ex-employee. as a former manager, i believe the truth is far more complicated and as a fan, it's disappointing that, despite mr. poole's statement, these stories are not be reported and given due diligence. i would appreciate this story being reported down the middle, mr. poole. i just don't believe it has been so far.

Dan said...

I understand the media's hesitance to be used as a mouthpiece for either side in this case, but you've got a lawsuit suggesting that there is a culture in the garage area that makes it uncomfortable for women and minorities to work in. I think it is very reasonable to ask general questions like:

What is the culture like in the garage?

What are the experiences of women and minorities in Nascar?

Is it the same for all - officials, mechanics, drivers, owners?

Are things changing? Getting better or worse?

Are things in Nascar any different from society as a whole?

Is this just an isolated case or is this the tip of the iceberg?

Outside of reporting "just the facts", the Nascar media hasn't made any attempt to address these question. Whether or not Mr. Poole likes it, there is a perception among the fans that the media works under the same "you need Nascar more than Nascar needs you" implied threat that the drivers work under. That perception has largely been seeded by members of the media. The fact that the Nascar media hasn't done much more than read the press releases regarding this case doesn't do much to dispel the fans' perceptions. To JD's point, if and when the programs that thrive on sensationalism get a hold of this story, these are the question that they will be asking.

Anonymous said...

I am not really sure what else can be said about this topic. I mean NASCAR is damned if you do, damned if you don't. If they say or do something it can be perceived as them trying to deflect the issue at hand, or they could do something that would appear to make nice on the issue and that could be perceived as guilt. My view is this, only talk when there is something to talk about. Ms Grant and her lawyer have done a lot of talking. This could hurt them. As public of a matter as this is, it should be more private. It is between Ms.Grant and those named in the lawsuit. Let a court decide and then we can talk all we want about it. I am disappointed that this could happen but it doesnt deter my view of the sport. Not everyone in NASCAR shares the views of some rather ignorant people. It just seems like people want to lump all associated with the sport into one particular group. The last time I checked, I had my own views and ideals. No one can speak for me, but me.
~Sharon~

Anonymous said...

Rockin Rich, David Poole has posted on TDP a few times before. Not often, but a few times. I have a feeling it's him.

Jayski has a couple of articles today about some comments Bob Dilner made on the radio which could be taken as insensitive to women and a minority group. Mild comments which were meant to be humorous, perhaps, but a prominent broadcast personality should not be making those kind of comments in public - enough that a couple of NASCAR bloggers picked up on it. So is it a wonder that the NASCAR media isn't bothering with this story if their personal attitudes are like Dilner's?

I applaud Jo and Dan for their comments. The fact that they've come up with these questions (and no NASCAR reporter has) speaks to how unimaginative some of the NASCAR media is (Mr. Poole is better than most, but I disagree with his assertions here, very strongly.) As Jo said, playing it down the middle does not equal silence, which is what we've gotten.

Here's a clue, Mr. Poole: Ms. Grant said in a print interview that she did not encounter issues like this with her co-workers at Irwindale; all of these issues occured while working for NASCAR. Surely that's an important point which could lead to a story, because many would assume a local track atmosphere might be even more hostile to women and minorities, yet Grant says she didn't have that experience.

So what is it about NASCAR culture specifically that sparked these allegations? Neither you, Mr. Poole, or any of your peers has even tried to answer that.

And I doubt you will. As others said, the followup on drug testing in NASCAR - or safety crew competence after the Montoya car fire a few weeks ago - by the media has been nonexistent. It's like you wait for Jim Hunter to call you guys before doing anything. Or are too busy ranking the drivers every week (like we care) or blogging to do actual reporting.

Too bad for us.

Anonymous said...

I keep reading in posts that Marcia Grant did not report the discriminatory acts to her supervisors. Take the time to read the court document: http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/story/8229358

First, it is kind of hard to trust your Supervisor when he/she participates in and/or is witness the acts and does nothing. According to the court document, Ms. Grant complained to NASCAR Busch Series Director Joe Balash on three occasions, and was dismissed approximately two weeks after the third complaint.

NASCAR took the old-school approach to handling discrimination complaints that I have witnessed first-hand. Fire the individual that complains, and promote and/or relocate the individual who committed the act.

Trust me, NASCAR is sweating bullets on this and it will be interesting if they resolve it in a professional and straight-forward manner. Probably not.

Richard in N.C. said...

To my knowledge at this point there is no "court document" - there is only Ms. Grant's so-far, unsubstantiated claims. My understanding is that Brian France said NASCAR was unaware of Ms. Grant's complaints until her lawsuit was filed and that, as a result, NASCAR was commencing a full internal investigation. It seems to me that at this point there is no basis to give any more credence to one side than to the other. NASCAR will have to defend itself in court and surely does not want to prejudice its case by making hasty comments it cannot back up.

As to David Poole, who is one of my favorite NASCAR writers (and often makes me so mad I could spit), I have complete confidence that he has virtually no fear of criticizing NASCAR.

Karen said...

Anonymous at 12:34 said.

Rockin Rich, David Poole has posted on TDP a few times before. Not often, but a few times. I have a feeling it's him.


The posts I've seen have him signed in as David Poole, not some anonymous poster. Maybe he'll read this and set the record straight.

red said...

richard in nc: the lawsuit is (like all lawsuits) a court filing and is, in fact, a court document. when i refer to the court document, it is the filing to which i refer. and "unsubstantiated claims"? well, that's the nature of the beast: the plaintiff files the lawsuit in as a legal document and then the case goes to mediation, settlement or trial.

as for mr france's statements that he was unaware of her complaints: as a general mgr in a retail setting, i accepted that it was part of my responsibility to make certain i did not permit an environment to exist where harassment of any kind could occur. my company held me responsible for that and ultimately the way i protected myself from such problems was to have a zero tolerance for it in my store. that's why i was paid more than the rest of my staff: to have total oversight of my entire store and to be certain my company's standard of zero tolerance was communicated, understood, reviewed yearly and enforced. that is the job of the leader of the store, the company and the sport. surely i should not be held to a more stringent standard than brian france?


anon 12:34: EXCELLENT point about ms. grant and her experiences at irwindale and how that is contrasted by her experiences in nascar at the n'wide level. thank you for reminding us of that. and i second that folks should make the time to plow thru the filing in total before repeating factual errors about the case. that's just being an intelligent fan.

and i also agree with the various posters here who have suggested a whole series of questions that could, at the very least, add depth and background to this story. these are questions that a reporter should be digging into but, sadly, it doesn't appear as if anyone is doing that.

as for dilner: i only read the comments on question, did not hear them in context. as pointed out in the column about the jack daniels post-race fiasco, context and tone sometimes convey a far different meaning than the words. that being said: at the very least, dilner should be more media saavy than to have even uttered those words. he sacrifices some level of personal "speaking off the cuff" as a trade-off for his position in the sport's media ranks. yes, i understand the first amendment and i even carry a pocket copy of the constitution with me at all times so i don't need that particular lecture! my point is that he is a voice of the sport, like it or not, and as such, he has additional responsibilities to be careful about the words he chooses when speaking in public, words that are already reverberating around the internet. at the very least, he jeopardizies his standing as an unbiased reporter.

of course, some will say there was no problem with what he said. i disagree and believe that sort of "good old boys" attitude that makes saying those sorts of things in public and expecting them to be permitted a pass is what brought our sport to this hot mess with the grant lawsuit!

i'm willing to review my position once i hear for myself the actual segment of that program so if there's a link out there, i'd appreciate it!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Great comments. If anyone needs to review the existing big stories on this topic, the links are provided in the main column.

JD

Anonymous said...

Bottom line: It's all he said, she said right now unless someone comes forward with independent verification. The media is under to obligation to report back and forth accusations without independent, 3rd party sourcing. If you don't think the media if presented with such would not report it, you're fooling yourselves.

Jo said...

Ms. Grant was just interviewed on ESPN NEWS Hotlist. About 3 mins. where she described her side of the story. The name calling including the n word & the towel drop incident in the hotel lobby.

ESPN said David Dukes was fired earlier this year for actions deterimental to NASCAR not related to this lawsuit. The other 2 officials remain on paid leave, NASCAR declined to be interviewed for the story.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes David Poole signs in as Anonymous even on his own blog comments but says up front that it's him. Something about not always being able to sign in as himself to the system when he's traveling...so it could be him.

Kenn Fong said...

J. D.,

If you have any contacts inside the NASCAR press office, they would know if "CBS 60 Minutes," "Oprah," "HBO's Real Sports," or some other media outlet not otherwise associated with NASCAR were investigating, as they would have to apply for credentials. Since Daytona is so high-profile, I would think they would be at this race, or at Charlotte a month ago. I would think if they were at Charlotte the word would have come out. These are the dog days for hard news (except for the presidential race) so it would be a good time to go after a Pulitzer.

Kenny
Alameda, California

Tracy said...

"If you don't think the media if presented with such would not report it, you're fooling yourselves."

It appears to me that the prior posters are wondering why there hasn't been some serious digging into this story. The attitude of "if it lands in my lap, well, okay, I guess I'll report it," sounds like laisssez faire until there's a fire burning up your pants leg.

Those of us who've experienced some form of workplace discrimination know there's usually another, sometimes uglier, sometimes not, story there. What is the real story in the Mauricia Grant case? Why doesn't the Nascar media want to dig it up?

And yes, court documents include the original pleadings.

SophiaZ123 said...

OMG! I loved the "Sonny Drysdale" reference to Brian France, LOL.

So very sad but true.

I also believe silence can sometimes speak more volumes then words.

I missed whatever Dilner said.

Anonymous said...

J. D.,

If you have any contacts inside the NASCAR press office, they would know if "CBS 60 Minutes," "Oprah," "HBO's Real Sports," or some other media outlet not otherwise associated with NASCAR were investigating, as they would have to apply for credentials.

*****************
Not necessarily. Jade Gurss, Dale Jr's excellent publicist while he was with Bud, recently again told the story about a crew from an MTV series doing a story on Dale Jr (years ago) who was denied a NASCAR credential at Talledega. From Jade's blog:

-- The True Life back story: A video crew had followed Dale Jr. for several weeks, but when NASCAR/I.S.C. refused to grant media credentials or an infield parking pass for the fall race at Talladega, it raised a red flag. Negotiations ensued, and the MTV crew were offered credentials only if they did not shoot footage in the infield. As any good journalist would do, the producer said "no thanks." They purchased a standard RV parking pass, bought infield passes just as any other fan and went to see what NASCAR was scared they'd find. Suddenly and sadly, a show focusing on Dale Jr. had a new, unexpected storyline: racism in NASCAR.

If NASCAR has that kind of reactionary thinking when dealing with the media on this lawsuit, IMO they're going to be in trouble because those folks will do exactly what the True Life people did - go around them and find out exactly what NASCAR doesn't want them to see.

Anonymous said...

The Bob Dilner audio is available at the radio show's site. The radio show is called Carey and Coffey and they also interviewed several other people from NASCAR at Loudon.

Interesting that the tones of the Wendy Venturini interview and Bob Dilner interview in the audio archives for this program are completely different. Wendy is very casual and cheery yet professional as always, but the Dilner interview starts with the "male bonding" comments (about Country Music Television/CMT, of all things) that caused some stir. Dilner doesn't sound bad, just immature. Basically shows you who the professional is (Wendy V) on SPEED.

SophiaZ123 said...

Not familiar with the site and will try and find the Dilner link.

WOW~~They are showing Grant inteviewed on ESPN2 practice!!

It's nice to see her face and voice in context.

NASCAR's written response Punch just read is a joke imo. They have a "zero" tolerance for this behavior??

Diane said...

There was just a story on ESPN and they read the Nascar response about not trying the case in the media, but in court.

They sound like a little kid with their hands over their ears going, "la, la, la, I don't want to hear you".

Anonymous said...

Look at it from NASCAR's point of view. The media is basically just stirring the pot trying to make a good story. NASCAR has the right to keep quiet until the actual court case begins. If ms. Grant wants to go on TV and get interviewed about the case, so be it.

Richard in N.C. said...

red, you are correct. I should have been clearer. It seems to me, in a non-technical conversation, that the reference to "court document" carries the inference that it is something from the court- rather than just a document filed with the court. Despite having been reduced to a legal document, Ms. Grant's claims are still unsubstantiated - as are Brian France's claims that Ms. Grant never filed or made a complaint.

I understood Brian France's position to be that NASCAR did have a policy against harassment and a procedure for reporting complaints, which Ms. Grant did not use - and that NASCAR was launching an internal investigation to determine the facts, which investigation apparently has not been completed yet.

I do find it curious that I have not seen any mention in the press of NASCAR's drive for diversity in connection with Ms. Grant's suit. Brian France may not come across as the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he would have to be really dumb to begin a highly publicized drive for diversity in the sport and at the same time knowingly tolerate a racially hostile work environment. It would seem to only make sense to make sure to have policies, procedures, and training in effect to guard against their being a hostile work environment when launching a drive for diversity - now whether such worked as intended or not is another matter.

Rockin Rich said...

Re: Richard in NC @ 7:10 PM -
You said "...Brian France may not come across as the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he would have to be really dumb to begin a highly publicized drive for diversity in the sport and at the same time knowingly tolerate a racially hostile work environment....".

Just keep in mind the new operative acronym NNiC! I guess we would pronounce that n-nic, ("nuhnic")? Yes, he could be really stupid about this, and several other things as well. Take a look at some of the past writing by some very respected journalists. Okay, maybe not respected by NASCAR, and the "Beach Bozos", but certainly respected by many long time readers, viewers, and fans.

I believe that there is a major struggle going on at W.International Speed Blvd. between the people that NASCAR pays to get them out of trouble, and the above mentioned Beach Bozos. And apparently the Bozos are prevailing.

Anonymous said...

Nobody cares about this, you are making a mountain out of a molehill.

red said...

anon 9:20: please refrain from speaking for me as i certainly DO care and this is a serious and ongoing issue in the american workplace, not just nascar. i would prefer you speak for yourself and not the elusive "nobody."

richard in n.c. said...
Ms. Grant's claims are still unsubstantiated - as are Brian France's claims that Ms. Grant never filed or made a complaint.

great point and one worth keeping in mind as this progresses!

as this blog is focused on the media aspect of any story, i'm going to try and keep focused on that and not on the particulars of the lawsuit. so i have a few questions that the media could start asking on my behalf.
1. what, exactly, is nascar's policy on harassment? what documentation exists that would explicitly outline nascar's policy and procedures? mr france talks about "the policy" so may i assume that there is, in fact, a written P&P that can be produced? or is it more along the lines of the drug abuse policy of reacting only when there is probable cause?
2. what training does nascar provide to all employees about harassment? how often is it updated?
3. what communication has nascar provided to all its employees that expresses a zero tolerance for harassment behaviors and outlines specific consequences?

if nascar cannot easily produce such documentation, then i have to question how serious the committment is to addressing harassment in the organization. the company i worked for as a general manager could have immediately produced all of the above across any one of the stores as well as in the warehouses and at the corporate office level.

my position is that reporters have NOT done enough to try and establish background and context in this and in the drug abuse discussion. they have, as a group, failed to do much more than give the barest outline of the lawsuit and essentially read the provided press releases. i understand that nascar is not likely to have a whole lot to say right now but that should NOT stop the reporters from doing the job. set these allegations in context; research and explain harassment law as it currently exists in the workplace; explain what the terms mean -- and don't mean. try to put this into historical perspective, drawing examples from other sports as needed.

i'm not asking for reporters to crucify either party in this lawsuit. i am asking them to do a thorough job of putting this lawsuit into some sort of perspective and that can most certainly be done without having to pick and choose particulars from the lawsuit. this the sort of reporting that could be done without being seen as taking sides or putting either party on the spot. it is educational reporting and sadly, i see no sign of it.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of Athlon Sports ... But, Matt McLaughlin's use of profanity in his column lost him any & all credibility that he might've had ...



Why hasn't anyone asked where the main players are that usually show up when lawsuits like this float to the surface?? People like Gloria Allred, Jesse Jackson & Al Sharpton ... They're awfully quiet on this lawsuit ...


The interviews that Ms Grant & her lawyer are giving are tainting the possible jury pool ...

Her lawyer already had a run-in with one high profile tv personality at Fox News ... sister network to SPEED ...

Dot said...

NASCAR needs to diffuse this situation pronto.

They need to take a page out of Tim Allen's book and come clean before the media gets them. He had a cocaine conviction years before Home Improvement aired. He fessed up before the tabloids ran the story and obviously came out pretty good.

All NASCAR has to do is confess, promise to conduct garage area sensitivity training, update the employee hand book and move on.

I think it's better to wipe cr*p on yourself than for others to do it to you.

Anonymous said...

Nobody cares about this, you are making a mountain out of a molehill.

No, YOU don't care about this.

It is clear from the posts on this thread (and others) that many people do care about it.

Jo said...

Anonymous said...
Nobody cares about this, you are making a mountain out of a molehill.

July 3, 2008 9:20 PM


Please Do NOT attempt to speak for others, others DO care. I care & so do many others who love the sport.

Tracy said...

Nascar Now at midnight on the Fourth of July - what a time to choose to run some of ESPN's interview with Ms. Grant. Bury the story in a time slot when everyone will be coming home from festivities and putting the kids to bed. Oh yeah, good tactic to bury the story and still say you reported it.

Shame on NN.

Richard in N.C. said...

Surprisingly, Mike Muhlhern wrote a quite positive response to Brian France's meeting with the press in Daytona.

It appears to me that the handling of the so-called Brett Favre "story" demonstrates that there is no longer any institutional emphasis on journalistic credibility at ESPN. I watched a 25 to 40 minutes episode of NFL Live the other night that included Al Harris and covered virtually nothing but the Favre "story" - without once mentioning Favre's e-mail or text message to his hometown paper saying the "story" was "all rumors." In my view, ESPN is more interested in keeping the Favre story alive, than reporting it accurately. I have yet to hear anyone on ESPN mention trying to contact Favre.

Thus, I am not sure one can expect much credible, well-done reporting of the Grant-NASCAR suit - except for a very small handful of ESPN reporters, such as Ryan McGee, Marty Smith, and Angelique Chengalis.