Thursday, July 23, 2009
Joe Gibbs Comments on ESPN About Jeremy Mayfield
Joe Gibbs has been around NASCAR for a long time now. His transition from the NFL to NASCAR was driven by family issues and he has grown JGR into a family business.
Wednesday afternoon, Gibbs appeared on both NASCAR Now with Mike Massaro and Outside The Lines with host Reece Davis. On OTL, Gibbs followed a news report from Marty Smith that brought viewers up to date on the Jeremy Mayfield situation as the sport heads toward Indianapolis.
Smith basically said that the B sample from Mayfield's second test is going to be heading for an independent lab and that the results of that test will either confirm or change everything. Smith also confirmed that Mayfield's attorneys are going to argue that someone tampered with Mayfield's second A sample. That is a huge allegation.
The OTL producers made a point in the pre-produced portion of the introduction to include Mayfield's personal allegations against NASCAR Chairman Brian France. They showed footage of France and used Mayfield's radio soundbites about him. This was certainly a surprise, because the drug testing issue involved focuses on NASCAR's licensed participants who are team members, officials and drivers.
Gibbs was at ESPN to promote a new book he authored, but Davis put him on the spot and asked about these drug testing issues. "NASCAR was very careful about putting their program in," said Gibbs. They think they have a great one and I agree with them."
"So, if you violate those rules...you are going to have to pay the penalty," he continued. "I think in that case, Jeremy is going to have to pay that penalty."
Davis reminded Gibbs that currently Mayfield is disputing that he has done anything wrong. "I think that is going to have an impact on his future and the way that he is looked at. What we have in NASCAR is a sponsorship side to it. When a driver signs-on to race for a race team, he is saying that he is going to be a corporate representative. That's where the problem will be in the future for Jeremy."
Davis tried to pin Gibbs down on ever hiring Mayfield in the future. His answer was succinct. "I probably would not put myself in that situation," stated Gibbs.
In closing, Gibbs left no doubt where he stood on the drug testing issue. With prior professional drug testing experience from the NFL, Gibbs' comments perhaps carried a little more weight than some other NASCAR owners.
"I am definitely for the substance abuse testing that we have in NASCAR," said Gibbs. "I think we need it. I think it helps protect the sport. I am solidly behind it and NASCAR."
After all the weeks of Mayfield-mania, it was nice to hear some clear-cut comments from a voice of reason who has personal experience in this area. Kudos to both Reece Davis and Marty Smith for their contributions on this program.
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