Friday, July 3, 2009

Mayfield Mayhem Stumps "NASCAR Now"


Nicole Manske opened the Wednesday NASCAR Now program with the right topic. The stunning decision from a US District Court granting Jeremy Mayfield a temporary injunction against NASCAR had come down only hours earlier. That is Mayfield and his attorney, Bill Diehl, pictured above leaving the courthouse.

ESPN reporter David Newton actually called into the show by phone. The only video shown included one soundbite from Mayfield and one from NASCAR's Ramsey Poston. Neither was in context and they made little sense. Mayfield said he had cleared his name and Poston commented about future testing.

Earlier this year, NASCAR Now had interviewed a drug testing expert from the World Doping Association. Dr. Gary Wadler gave his views on the myriad of problems with NASCAR's current drug policy and the specific reasons he thought it could be successfully challenged in court. Click here for a review of that program.

"Woefully lacking in details," said Wadler of the NASCAR policy. On this day, that was also true of NASCAR Now's ability to deal with this issue. During his "phoner," Newton said this was a huge case for NASCAR. So, how did Manske follow-up on this breaking story? With an interview of Brad Keselowski promoting ESPN's Nationwide Series race on Friday night.

Even a small local TV station covering a court hearing has a reporter on-camera who offers a complete story of the activity of the day. That includes questions asked of the key participants, a recap of the issues and an on-camera presence. For ESPN to offer Newton on the phone as the single source of information on this issue was inexcusable.

There was a live shot next, but it was ESPN's Dave Burns. He again promoted the ESPN Nationwide Series race at Daytona. Manske ran Burns through a series of painfully scripted questions about Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards' Nationwide Series teams. Fans know that script all too well where ESPN is concerned.

None of the Dr. Wadler footage addressing the Mayfield issue was shown. No legal analyst was on the show to help fans understand what the ruling really meant. No NASCAR executives were interviewed for their reactions to the ruling. Both Mike Helton and Brian France were in the courtroom for this hearing. If they refused ESPN's request to be interviewed, that should have been stated.

Meanwhile, back on the show Matt Kenseth's team got their Daytona 500 rings. Tony Stewart and Kenseth drove at a local track. NASCAR Now promoted an IRL race while leaving the Sprint Cup Series Daytona race off the motorsports schedule. Finally, a live shot with Matt DiBenedetto who won the Camping World East race in Loudon wrapped the show.

In the end, there was no on-camera reporter outside the courthouse in the very home of NASCAR. There was no reaction from the NASCAR President or Chairman to a precedent-setting day for their sport. There was no perspective from ESPN's Ryan McGee who touched-off the entire drug issue with his Aaron Fike interview. There were no opinions from Ed Hinton, Dale Jarrett or even medical doctor Jerry Punch.

NASCAR Now may have found their on-camera talent this season, but behind the scenes things have to drastically improve. This program was about promoting ESPN's Nationwide Series and IRL races with some filler stories thrown-in. Newton's update by phone was almost an interruption in the scripted scenarios that have plagued this network from the start of the NASCAR coverage in 2007.

What a disappointing show at a critical time in ESPN's evolution of NASCAR credibility. There is no NASCAR Now on Thursday as on-track Daytona schedules cancelled the show. The next time fans see Manske it will be at 7PM on Friday right before the Nationwide Series coverage. What a coincidence.

Update: Click here for Marty Smith's Thursday column on Mayfield and this issue.

TDP welcomes your comments on this topic. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

55 comments:

Jojaye said...

I'm glad it wasn't just me thinking the coverage of todays court ruling was screwed up. We got better coverage of Billy Mays death here from our local Bay9 news crew than the worldwide leader was willing to give the 'roids issue they were so hot to trot with last season.

Shame on them

Newracefan said...

Guess I don't have to worry that all I had on the DVR was tennis

Anonymous said...

I really don't understand why the suspension does not stand while the case goes through a trial. If this man took meth, he is a danger to himself and others on the track. It would seem prudent to not allow him to race until there is some definitive answer about the legalities of NASCAR's policy.

Finance Guy said...

While I agree with all your post, I would add more. Everyone knew the ruling would likely be issued today. It is not like it has been pending for years. They should have had experts (medical and legal) ready to go. They should have had a former driver ready to speak on the topic.

darbar said...

Has anyone noticed that when ESPN has their precious tennis on, they don't have the constant crawl on the bottom? So, why does tennis, who barely anyone watches, reap this benefit, but Nascar does not?

BTW, I hate this constant crap of shows not being on when scheduled. I didn't get to see NN because my DVR doesn't recognize time run overs. This stinks

Finance Guy said...

Anonymous,

If ESPN had put on a legal expert, he would have informed us that the standard for granting a preliminary injunction is high. Essentially,the judge had to determine Mayfield was likely to win before he could grant an injunction.

As to Mayfield's meth usage, it seems clear the judge feels NASCAR botched the testing. Why should he wait to drive until NASCAR adopts a good testing policy?

Sophia said...

Well it was a tough day in this home for reason's I don't wish to get into here..but I thought I would turn on NN out of desperation for distraction. Then I got interrupted during the show and thought I missed the big story on Mayfield.

JD,Thanks for the article as I now know I missed nothing and the show was a scrambled eggs script of misfires.

MERCY! is this show LIVE or was this allegedly edited for tv. This will teach me to tune into ESPN.

But with nothing on SPEED I thought I might get some kernel on this huge story...I turned on CC and muted the tv once I saw they jumped from the Mayfield story.

And as mentioned most folks knew the ruling was happening July 1st.

Though STUNNED Mayfield is allowed to drive, I still wonder what is going on with the drug testing that the judge knows, that we Joe and Jane Citizens do not.

Karen said...

I love to watch tennis, Darbar. So, JD, thanks for saving me the time to ff through tennis to find NN since it sounds like I missed nothing.

Karen said...

Just read David Newton's column. Wonder why NASCAR doesn't do a hair test on Mayfield and be done with it? Do they think their own testing is flawed? Sounds like they were out-lawyered today as someone posted on another of the columns here at TDP. NASCAR must have been overconfident in their case, which is not too bright of their lawyers. Way too much at stake to do a half-assed job in court today.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Karen, there was so much information left on the table about this issue after NASCAR Now was over it amazed me.

Now, there is no NASCAR TV news until Friday. SPEED's NASCAR Live from Daytona is just not going to open the door to issues like this.

JD

PammH said...

hmm, let me make this short & sweet...coverage sucked for such a HUGE story! And sorry JD, but didn't think Nicole could pull this off, altho I think the behind the curtain folks we're pulling alot of the strings...:( She just doesn't have the creds, imo.

Gymmie said...

WOW! What a shame to have left such a mess on but I'm not surprised. They've dropped the ball many a times. Being the only "news" we have during the week they've had several what could have been "big" stories fall flat.

rich said...

Almost missed the show because of tennis over run and I would not have missed a thing. What a sorry excuse for a "news" show.

Anonymous said...

What a laugh about ESPN. Maybe they should have watched CNN or Fox News to see how it's done. You could at least fake a talking head - make Marty Smith talk with his back to a plain wall. That way people would at least think he was on location somewhere.
- Rick Eckart from Texas -

majorshouse said...

If I were NASCAR, I would be really upset and would test Mayfield every time he set foot on a track. there is obviously more to this story that is going on and let's face it folks, he owes a lot of people a lot of money and really wonder if he has any credibility with anyone anymore.

Dot said...

I got home before Dan and had the rare chance of controlling the TV. Wanted to watch NN but saw Tennis instead.

@ dar, I noticed the crawl was missing too. How do those viewers rate?

I have the DVR set for the later NN. After reading what I didn't miss, I'll cancel the recording. I get more info here anyway.

How do I say this without sounding sexist? Nicole is too eye candyish to report some of these stories. She seems better suited for the fluff and scripted segments. Maybe because she doesn't have the long time racing reporting experience that others have. Krista and Wendy are more credible. Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

This is not a defense, but is it plausible JD that ESPN's legal analyst could not get on the air during the 5 p.m. hour on the east coast. The analyst on retainer is Roger Cossack, who appears from what I believe is an ABC News live position in D.C. At 5 p.m., that would be used for local affiliate reports from Washington.

bozo said...

majorshouse: how in the world are you still saying he has no credibility? he just won an injunction, obviously Nascar has some major issues. I think the lack of coverage shows the networks covering nascar have no credibility - when the story first broke, they were all over it when it looked bad for jeremy, espn broke the meth story, now, with a major victory for jeremy, silence... i live in d.c. this is like dan snyder firing bobby mitchell from a radio show because he was too critical of the skins - these networks are too beholden to nascar.

GreenMeansGo said...

ESPN probably thought what alot of other people did --- NASCAR wins, Mayfield looses ... move on ... no news here! In this case, a "phoned in report" would have worked. They really should have had a "Plan B" just in case.

Richard in N.C. said...

GreenMeans - Bingo.

Sounds to me like maybe NASCAR's attorneys and EESPN underestimated Mayfield's attorney.

red said...

at some level, i expected nothing from nascar now in re: solid analysis of the mayfield ruling . . .
and that's exactly what we got: nothing.
disgraceful.

Lesley said...
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Anonymous said...

The reason the coverage is weak is because all the NA$CAR "media" is weak and, more importantly, in the tank for the NA$CAR kingdom! Even when the story got quiet, they were all over covering how Mayfield owed everyone money, etc. I hope NA$CAR finally gets whats coming to them...just like Tony (I ruined open wheel racing in the USA) George.

bevo said...

The best coverage was once again provided by Dave Moody on Sirius Speedway. He had a newspaper reporter who has been covering the trial as well as Mayfield's attorney.

Too bad so many fans couldn't hear his reasonable analysis of the situation and realize that this doesn't have any bearing on the outcome of the case.

Anonymous said...

Manske is the last person you'd want for a dynamic interview. She reads the prompter with a detached look on her face---totally scripted. The Monday show,typically, is the only one worth watching where you have hosts that know what they're talking about.

Joe Dunn said...

John, I could not agree more. This was a Breaking News Story of the day and NN blew it. But has anyone considered the fact that this coverage was actually in Nascar's best interest. The dumbing down of the story, and the absence of any legal explanation leaves fan to assume that the Judge may have blown it. Of course the fact is that the judge was spot on with his decision. NASCAR's drug policy of 2009 was flawed from the get go and it appears from testimony (and the judge agreed) that Aegis failed to follow even their own guidelines. For those folks quick to condemn Mayfield, need I remind you that we are in the United States where everyone is presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty. The only thing proven so far is a badly flawed drug test system.

Finance Guy said...

Majorshouse,

If NASCAR retaliates against Mayfield for winning in court, the France family will end up writing him an ENORMOUS check.

The best strategy for NASCAR is to fix their drug testing policy so that it complies with federal guidelines and that it can stand up to scrutiny.

If other sports (and employers) can do it, NASCAR can do it

Vicky D said...

This was happy news for me as I like Jeremy a lot and am very glad for him. On the downsize I think Nicole is the weak one on this show she's not getting better. The interview with BK could have been delayed another day but good interview. And even though I like Mike Massaro, he stumbled through a lot of words on the broadcast earlier in the week. I thought he asked good questions of the guest.

Anonymous said...

I'm not taking up for ESPN, but don't they tape that show a few hours before it airs? If they do, the show could have been edited to at least include the one comment from Newton.

I have learned not to use that show for a source of late-breaking stories or information.

50 yr. fan said...

NN just shows that you can't cover
this sport from Connecticut;
especially with parrots.
You're the one with the news JD.

CSGAS said...

John, I really have to give you kudos on calling out ESPN's poor behavior in this false-doping scandal. If ESPN was reporting in a dispassionate, unbiased manner then equal weight and resources would be given no matter what controversial turn this drama took.

Instead the airplay seems only to receive appropriate attention when it supports ESPN's earliest stand in the faux-doping case, a stand an impartial journalistic operation would never have taken due to the definition of impartial.

You are a respected personality who's analysis of all the media has made it possible to apply "critical thinking" skills instead of falling victim to propaganda tactics.

The next part turns my stomach a little, but I have always been known for finding a positive outlook from every turn of events:

I would like to thank all the foolish bashers, flamers, and freaks who made baseless and uninformed accusations, insults, and bizarre or even unreal statements about Jeremy during this time so far.

You've made it so easy for Bill Diehl to document the impact NASCAR's false-doping accusations have on an innocent driver's career and image.

Tracy said...

I'm a lawyer in my other life. Believe me, they could have hauled any third year law student in front of a camera to explain about injunctions and their impact on litigation. It's basic, very basic, and if ESPN had had anyone in the courtroom with a pen and notepad (once again, let's get back to basics), they could have had a simple report on what the judge said and reactions to said comments. How hard is that?

I left the TV on hoping for more on Mayfield from Manske, and could NOT believe what a bad job the show did of covering what is actually a stunning result for Mayfield. Nascar's lawyers thought they had it in the bag, betcha. They thought the word "meth" alone was enough to win.

Diehl is worth every penny Mayfield paid him. ESPN should have something in the works about him, his firm, and his famous clients/cases. Will that ever happen? ROFLOL.

Jojaye said...

@Finance guy - NASCAR does not (nor does any sport) have to "follow federal guidelines" those are for Federal Employees. What NASCAR MUST do as a sport is FIX their drug testing to FOLLOW the World Anti Doping Program- which is used by all major sports save the NFL. They have their own & its stringent enough, allegedly.

The World Anti Doping has lists of banned substances, not a hit or miss call us & see if its ok ( this week)
Russian roulette style NASCAR has now.

Which if you give it a moments thought - Frances ego is amazing HE can do better than World Anti Doping. In the words of Bugs Bunny "what a maroon!"

Ryan said...

JD,

I was listening to The Dan Patrick radio show and I believe they are going to have a rep from NASCAR on there during the program today...It is on Fox sports radio....I know you don't really cover the radio medium but thought you might find this interesting

Daly Planet Editor said...

Ryan, thanks for the info. Something like this becomes a big media presence quickly.

From Bubba the Love Sponge taking Mayfield's allgeged meds and then drug testing on the air to the NASCAR media waiting to see if Mayfield comes to Daytona, it is going to be a zoo.

JD

Nan S said...

This shows very clearly that Nascar Now is nothing more than a fluff, pr announcement show. These people (on air and producers) don't seem capable of putting on a news show.

Anonymous said...

I really don't understand why the suspension does not stand while the case goes through a trial. If this man took meth, he is a danger to himself and others on the track.

Because, in this country, you are innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around.

Has it not occurred to you--and others--that NASCAR might be wrong?

Mïk said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I really don't understand why the suspension does not stand while the case goes through a trial. If this man took meth, he is a danger to himself and others on the track."

Drank the Kool-aid, did you? Or are you on payroll at NASCAR or ESPN? Bubba, the love sponge has proven that NASCAR's policy is a farce, that NASCAR is not above ruining a man's reputation to get him out of racing, and that even an owner isn't safe from NASCAR's 'rule by innuendo'.

We'll know if there's truth to NASCAR's story when he gets to Daytona. If he's a druggie, he'll be ostracized by his fellow drivers. If they don't rail against him, he'll be good to race against them.

darbar said...

This morning on First Take, they announced that the sponsor of Mayfield's car, the one he had before the suspension, has come out and said they do not want Mayfield driving their car. So it appears that he won't be in that car for Daytona.

On ESPNews, they report that four teams reject Mayfield's request to drive for them on Saturday. Mayfield claims he can't get his car to Daytona in time for the race. To me, that sounds like an outright lie. It's not that far a drive to Daytona from North Carolina. He could have loaded his cars into a hauler within hours of learning of the injunction and headed to Daytona.

And, according to the latest on ESPN, team owners have called Mayfield "a marked man in this sport". No matter what comes of the legal part of this, I think Mayfield is finished in Nascar.

Tracy said...

Darbar, Mayfield laid off all his employees. He probably couldn't get the car ready for the race in time. Add that to the list of damages he'll present in court.

With comments from other owners such as those you have paraphrased, the check Nascar writes will have to be really big if Mayfield wins.

Nascar has effectively ruined his career and reputation any way you cut it. Wait, didn't that happen to Carl Long as well?

Tracy said...
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West Coast Diane said...

Just read DW's take on Mayfield at Fox Sports. Wants Mayfield to race. Thinks he will be accepted in the garage. Still thinks it was the combo of Adderall(sp?) & Claritan D. Also, that you can test positive eating a poppy seed bagel. Thought, based on all I read about DW, that he was a shill for NASCAR.

Big Henry said...

Mayfield won't race this weekend. No time, even if he has sponsorship. He'll recoup the $ from France after he wins his lawsuit. Maybe France should get some attorneys that didn't get their degree at a football university.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD, you may have missed it - Mike Mulhern on film shaking hands and congratulating Mayfield. Priceless.

Matt TSB said...

I can't believe people think tyhis is over.

Anonymous said...

I've read most of the posts about Mayfield. None of you understand what's really going on with NASCAR. NASCAR DOES NOT want independent race teams. That takes a starting spot from the mega teams. As Kyle Petty said a few years ago, NASCAR should franchise the race teams to protect a starting spot NASCAR has killed the support series, killed the potential for an independent to get a foot in the door. Only way new drivers get in is with Daddy's big dollars to buy a ride. NASCAR is on the wrong track and one day may go the way of CART. Just look around yor local areas, when was the last time a local talented driver got shot at the brass ring. Been there in person and have seen the greed of Dayton screw over the locals. A good example is the BGNN series, we used to have 125 + cars show up at NHIS, now there's only a hand full of teams supported by the mega Cup team that run the full series, 29 cars at NHMS last week what a joke. 45 years in the sport I truely loved that's gone to hell in a hand bag.

One pissed offed EX-NASCAR member.

Richard in N.C. said...

I think I would pay for a ticket to see Mayfield's attorney introduce Bubba the Love Sponge as an expert witness.

Anonymous said...

Now that owners are publicly using words like "marked" while turning down Mayfield to run in their cars, watch for Mayfield to file a lawsuit against NASCAR for making it impossible for him to get a shot at driving.

Anonymous said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...

Mike Mulhern and Mayfield, that would have been good.

darbar said...

Isn't there a precedent somewhere in sports where an athlete sued because he was forced out of the sport and claimed he was denied making a living? Anyone remember this?

Richard, I read that Bubba, on two occasions, took the same drugs as Mayfield reportedly did, Claritin D and Adderall, and then had his blood tested? His blood test both times came back as positive for Meth. All Jeremy's legal team needs to do is get a bunch of respected people together, give them this drug cocktail, and prove that blood tested with these items do produce false positives.

No matter, I still think Nascar and those who run the sport, will be screwed in the long run. They may not lose the Mayfield case, but this court ruling has opened up the iron fist that Nascar has been used to for decades.

amy said...

Is anyone surprised that no news was forthcoming from the hearing? NASCAR makes sure that no news gets out that they don't want out. But I think their arrogance is going to be their demise. For way too long they have doing what they want to whom they want, be it right or wrong, without anyone standing up to them. They have no one to blame but themselves. The chickens ALWAYS come home to roost, and I hear coming down the road.

bevo said...

This situation has officially jumped the shark with the Bubba stunt. As many chemicals as he has running through his veins I'm surprised it wasn't radioactive.

stockcarscience.com has an excellent blog entry about the detection of meth in drug screening.

David said...

If Jeremy was serious about his argument in court about his NEED to get back in a car as soon as possible, why didn't they have a car ready? Laid off employees or not they could have easily had a plate car sitting in the shop ready to go. Maybe the engine was a no go but the fact that they made what seems to me, no effort to get the #41 to the track at all for Daytona raises even more eyebrows from me.

There is much more to this case to come, but if changes to the way testing is conduced have been made as indicated by other drivers, it may be wise for NASCAR to sit at a table with Jeremy and work something out. Test Jeremy has often as needed to satisfy NASCAR, clear the air and maybe shoulder some blame if thats what it takes to defuse the situation to allow Jeremy to continue operating his race team without a huge astrik next to his name as someone going toe to toe with the sanctioning body.

Who really knows exactly how this will play out, the only person who knows the truth is Jeremy and if he was on anything and wont admit it, shame on him. If this was a false positive, I hope he can clear his name and get back to racing.

Much good has already come out of this in terms of NASCAR clarifying their policy, as well as solidifying their testing procedures. Hopefully this can be resolved sometime soon without a long drawn out court battle.

Richard in N.C. said...

The Mayfield situation is just the latest example of how sloppy the majority of the so-called NASCAR news media is - not to mention very often biased. Except for Ryan McGee's article and a couple by David Newton and Bob Pockrass, most articles seem to have been written without having done any real research. Except for 1 article by David Newton, I have yet to see any articles demonstrating the faults of NASCAR's drug testing program by comparing it to that of another major racing series or major sport.

I do find it curious that even the most aggressive anti-NASCAR writers have toned down their rhetoric in the past couple of weeks.