Thursday, May 14, 2009
Tracking Jeremy Mayfield In The Media (Updated - Shana's Statement)
Updated: Well, here we go. NASCAR's chief of its new drug testing program has directly commented on Mayfield's assertions that allergy medication causing him to fail the random test in Richmond. What Dr. Black says is not good:
"What we have is a clear violation of policy," said Dr. Black, whose Tennessee-based Aegis Labs conducts NASCAR's random testing program. "In my many years of experience, I have never seen a violation like this due to the combination of over-the-counter or prescription products."
Black, citing NASCAR policy, declined to specify what caused Mayfield to test positive, saying it was "a drug of concern."
Well, this puts the media spotlight on several TV networks. First, SPEED for teasing coverage of the 6PM press conference on RaceDay and then putting a joking Hermie Sadler and three drivers on the air for a very long but completely pointless interview about the upcoming All-Star race...on SPEED. The network never covered the press conference live or asked follow-up questions.
Reporter Wendy Venturini offered a live report afer the press conference where she reviewed the details. Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace then offered ill-advised comments on this issue. What SPEED should have been doing was switching over to "news" mode and making this a topic immediately. It never happened.
Sunday night, SPEED offered Wind Tunnel. Host Dave Despain had Kenny Schrader in the studio who declined to address the issue. Despain fancies himself a journalist, but failed miserably on this issue. Indy and open-wheel dominated once Despain and Schrader were done with a Denny Hamlin interview.
Tuesday afternoon it was Shannon Spake addressing this issue while hosting NASCAR Now . You can read about what happened on the new post at the top of the main page. David Newton and Andy Petree offered their comments.
Wednesday, Shana Mayfield issued a statement but did not appear on-camera during NASCAR Now. Shana confirmed she will be the interim owner, JJ Yeley will drive and that Jeremy will release a statement on Friday. The saga continues.
Here is the original TDP article from Saturday:
The news broke on Saturday that Jeremy Mayfield had been suspended from NASCAR for violating the drug policy put in place for this season by the sanctioning body.
In the new world of drug testing, there are things that both upset and confuse fans of the sport involved. In this case, NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter read a prepared statement and only ruled-out alcohol as a substance that may be involved.
This type of statement is designed to retain the privacy of the individual tested and only advise the media of the resulting actions. Hunter stayed within the established privacy guidelines.
Unfortunately, the decades of drug abuse by other professional sports leagues have set a precedent in the media where this type of announcement is concerned. It also does not help to have several drivers in the past who have been suspended prior to this policy for addiction to several types of illegal substances.
What the media knows right now is basically nothing. That makes lots of reporting types crazy and their Internet stories reflect this frustration. Mayfield himself quickly released a statement addressing the issue. Here are some excerpts:
"As both a team owner and a driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, I have immense respect for the enforcement policies NASCAR has in place. In my case, I believe that the combination of a prescribed medicine and an over the counter medicine reacted together and resulted in a positive drug test. My Doctor and I are working with both Dr. Black and NASCAR to resolve this matter."
So, on Sunday morning we at TDP are watching the NASCAR media struggle with this first suspension of a driver under the new testing policy.
Online stories range from factual accounts to suggestions of Mayfield as an illegal drug user. One quick search of the news section of Google reveals over one thousand stories already covering the globe with the Mayfield suspension news.
Here at TDP, we are interested to see if Mayfield surfaces on either Wind Tunnel on SPEED Sunday night or the NASCAR Now program on ESPN2 Monday afternoon.
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