Thursday, December 18, 2008

Media Reaction To Grant Settlement Should Be Interesting


The words from NASCAR were brief and relatively easy to understand:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 18, 2008) – At a mediation held in New York on December 3, 2008, Ms. Mauricia Grant settled her discrimination lawsuit with her former employer, NASCAR. Ms. Grant was represented by her attorneys Morelli Ratner PC. NASCAR was represented by Jackson Lewis. Neither NASCAR nor Ms. Grant admits liability or wrongdoing by way of the settlement.

“We’re glad to have the case settled on mutually acceptable terms,” said NASCAR Managing Director of Corporate Communications Ramsey Poston. “NASCAR remains dedicated to maintaining a professional work environment for all employees at all times and we wish Ms. Grant well in her future endeavors.”

The specific terms of the settlement agreement remain confidential and both sides agreed not to publicly discuss the details of the case or the terms of the agreement going forward.


This action allowed NASCAR to cross one item off the list for 2009 at a time when the sport itself finds crisis management a full-time job.

Since this release came out on the Thursday before Christmas week, it should be interesting to see just how much national and international media exposure it gets.

Brian France has said all along that NASCAR would not admit wrongdoing and denied the allegations brought by Ms. Grant from the beginning. Now, he gets to walk away without any admission of guilt and with the promise that the issues will not be discussed by either party in public.

Between the holidays, the economy and the very public struggles of the US automakers, it will be interesting to see if the Grant issue simply fades from sight after a brief flurry of Internet posts. Since there is absolutely no NASCAR TV right now, it will be up to ESPN to offer any TV exposure on this issue.

Please tell us where you see, hear or read about the Grant settlement in your area, whether it is online or the local TV news. You can also relate just how you think NASCAR handled this issue from the start. Thanks again.

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26 comments:

Nan S said...

I'm glad Nascar ponied up. Obviously she had cause for action, as seen by Nascar firing the 2 men who exposed themselves to her.

I know that a lot of people went all crazy over the amount of the suit, but that's just a lawyer's bargaining position and nothing more.

I suspect that part of the settlement was a gag order, so we may never know the full extent of which of her racial and sexual discrimination charges were proven, but I'm thinking a lot of them were.

My hopes for media coverage is just a straight forward cut and dried version that is pretty close to the press release. I hate to see the blogs (not this one) explode again with sexism and racism.

PammH said...

I heard this on Sirius radio tonite. I'm not really shocked that this lawsuit was settled-who could be, after Nascar fired some of the people named in the suit! But it had NOTHING to do w/the lawsuit, of course! ;) The suits on the beach think the fans are dumber than a box of rocks, but we're not. Also, as you pointed out JD, this was the PERFECT time of yr to settle this sucker. Very little Nascar news out there, except for the die-hard fan that goes looking. My guess is that no one that watches BSPN will even know about this news. And Nascar can't afford to be drug into court, imo.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Kudos to ESPNEWS and Lead Reporter Marty Smith. The network featured Smith phoning-in a very good wrap-up of the settlement and the issues surrounding the events that led to the lawsuit.

JD

PammH said...

Okay, I am shocked! I had NO idea Nascar was this mainstream. I found this headline (Nascar settles big lawsuit-it named the number) on yahoo, msn & bspn. Color me suprised.

Jojaye said...

I'm not surprised by the settlement, I figured they'd wait till between Christmas & New Years.

Well now Brian can say nothing ever happened & no one can dispute him. Msn & google both state that neither party may disclose the terms - which means we will never "really" know.
Never mind the firings -which weren't related to this case but were the same men.

Richard in N.C. said...

It has always fascinated me that the part of the media closest to the story - the reporters and writers who follow NASCAR virtually exclusively - have had so relatively little to say about the story other than what was in the court filings.

Dot said...

I saw the headline on MSN.com. We all knew that this wasn't going to trial.

I can only hope that this hasn't opened a Pandora's Box for future lawsuits. Being in the insurance business, we call these "Go away" settlements. Works out cheaper (not always fairly) for all. I'm not taking sides as we really don't know all the facts. I think the fired guys just crossed the line further than the others. From what little I read about Ms Grant, she didn't come off as a saint either. Now everybody's dirty laundry can stay in the basket.

If there was ever a time for any other NASCAR news, now would be it. I wonder what the suits are thinking up? I don't think this story will be that big of a deal. As other things NASCAR, this won't be a big deal with the regular media.

Newracefan said...

Not surprised at the timing, I assumed that Nascar would finally hire some lawyers with brains. I also expect it to appear in mainstream media but with everyone's busy schedule this time of year most won't notice. I just hope Nascar learned from this mess and have put things in place to keep it from happening again

Anonymous said...

I always found it curious that the suit came out of no where right after Bruton Smith agreed to buy the KY track and then was turned down by NASCAR and then the owner of the Pocono in his attempt to get a race date for 2009. A strange coincidence.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised NASCAR didn't do this on Friday the 19th to make it even less likely to be covered.

However, I am not suprised they essentially paid the plaintiff to make it all go away.

David said...

Anyone wonder why their aren't any female drivers if they they treat the officials like this. It is not hard to see what the problem is. Backwards thinking will only doom this sport and this lawsuit and it quiet settlement proves it.

With that said I was at the ARCA race years ago after the BUSCH Clash. Yea the Busch Clash and after the ARCA race the officials joked about how Red Farmer and many of the good ole boys had hit Patty Moise every time they went by her. A booming voice agreed while laughing they would talk to the drivers. NASCAR runs the ARCA race at Daytona back then...

No more calls please we have a winner...

Ken said...

They simply did a cost/benefit analysis and made a settlement. I worked in insurance claims for 30+ years. There is never a claim so bad it can't be won or one so good that it can't be lost. You figure your odds and base settlement offers on the percentage of the maximum exposure. The other side does the same things and both sides figures in the costs of going to trial.

This time of year is a good time to make offers because people want money for the holidays and the company can use the settlement in this year's tax return. This year will probably be better for NA$CAR than next year so this is the appropriate time to settle.

Anonymous said...

Boy that went away quickly and rather quietly. It was filed and settled within eight months - unheard of in our court system. Wonder what the dollar figure was?

NASCAR did not want this drawn out going into the already gloomy 2009 season.

Wonder if the Nationwide Series Director's job is on the line now. It should be - seems like he and his troops are the root cause - not just two officials.

Statboy said...

A couple guys on a sports talk show that I'm forced to listen to on occasion were making fun of the entire situation, saying also in the settlement she gets to own a team and gets her picture on the front of the car in a way to stick it to NASCAR or something like that.

Of course the only time NASCAR is talked about on that show is when somebody screws up and does something dumb, or just in an attempt to make fun of the sport.

Racingwench said...

Hi
This was reported in my paper here in Upstate NY.
Here is the link from their website.
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CAR_NASCAR_HARASSMENT_LAWSUIT?SITE=NYSCH&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2008-12-18-21-06-48

TexasRaceLady said...

It was mentioned on the local Dallas news last night in the sports segment --- but just about 15-20 seconds worth of TV time.

SallyB said...

Foxsports had several articles on it's Nascar page on the web. Not only did they address the settlement, but had articles about the atmosphere in the garage, and one on Nascar's tactics and Brian France's handling of the situation.

Tracy said...

What NanS and Pamm said. Yep, part of the settlement is always a gag order. Remember when Childress sued his insurer after Sr. was killed, and all he would say after the settlement was made was, "I'm smiling, aren't I?"

I'm sure Ms. Grant has a big smile on her face. Thank God Nascar finally hired some lawyers with brains.

no holds barred said...

The AP story about the settlement ran TWICE in the Dec. 19 edition of The (N.Y.) Daily News - and, in shortened form, the same day's Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger.

The actual article ran on Daily News' page 54 - betwen the centerfold op-ed pages and real estate - of 136 page final edition.

The Daily News blurb ran on page 124, under "Auto Racing" in its Sports Wire ticker box. Star-Ledger did the same thing, page 2 of its sports section.

majorshouse said...

I am personally happy to hear that the suit has been settled. I am not sure who was right and who was wrong here, but it really does seem like the ladies have not gotten the fair shake in NASCAR in many instances like they should or could have. There have been several quite talented ladies who have driven in both the Nationwide and Craftsman truck series that never really made it for one reasonn or another and I am assuming that much of it is because of the good old boy syndrome and that is really sad given the fact that we are now in the 21st centruy.

Anonymous said...

[b]I'm glad Nascar ponied up. Obviously she had cause for action, as seen by Nascar firing the 2 men who exposed themselves to her.[/b]

Amen! You are 100%. She had a really great case; well documented over time. She would have taken NASCAR to the cleaners at a time when they need every penny they can get to survive.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but the ONLY reason I think this is a mainstream story is because it plays into the New York media elite's stereotype of NASCAR.

They see this story as: See, those hillbillies in NASCAR are too racist to contain themselves, and look how they acted in front of this minority.

The media elite will RUN with this story, as they will do anything and everything in their power to promote the idea that NASCAR is a "regional" sport whose fans are all rednecks. It is sickening. When the media has an image - ad a story comes along that supports that image - they run hard with it.

At least NASCAR is doing the right thing and ending the story. Right before Xmas is a good time to bury it.

Anonymous said...

Tracy- Actually "I'm smiling, aren't I" was the response of the local litigator in NC who represented RC and the poor widow lady.

Richard in N.C. said...

2 of the articles FOX Sports posted are reruns and, in my view, done by consistently biased writers, and FOX Sports' NASCAR page lead for Jenna Fryer's article is attention grabbing, but not really consistent with the tone of the AP article itself.

The reporting of the whole matter has been handled in a curious manner. I've seen nothing reported to demonstrate that one side's position was more supported than the other. I do find it intriguing that with all the people in the garage no one seemed to have any knowledge one way or the other of what did or did not happen. It has always seemed likely to me that some members of the press corps should have had some knowledge of the matter, but did not want to report what they knew for fear of being called to testify.

kyle said...

I heard it on my local news (KCCI-TV in Des Moines), saw it on ESPNNews (bottom crawl), and it was on my website (NASCAR directly).

Anonymous said...

How is the media's reaction even relevant? They tend to have an overinflated opinion about themselves and impact to the sport. Who cares how the media wants to twist it? It's settled-drop it and move forward.