Jeremy Clements should have been suspended by NASCAR there is no doubt about it. Wednesday it was announced that Clements was suspended by NASCAR for violating the code of conduct rule in which Clements used a word that was "insensitive and intolerable."
NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O'Donnell said this about Clements' penalty, “During the course of an interview, Jeremy Clements made an intolerable and insensitive remark, NASCAR has a Code of Conduct that’s explicitly spelled out in the 2013 NASCAR Rule Book. We fully expect our entire industry to adhere to that Code.”
While nothing official has been reported as to what exactly Clements said, several reports have indicated that Clements made a racial slur, which should warrant a suspension, no doubt about it.
NASCAR's rule book prohibits "public statement" if it criticizes, disparages or ridicules individual(s) for color, creed, race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, handicapped condition or marital status.
There is no doubt that the comment Clements made did exactly that which means the penalty is warranted. However a similar situation happened at the end of the Phoenix race in 2012.
If we go back to the situation in November Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon had a run in in the Advocare 500 when towards the end of the race Bowyer got taken about by Jeff Gordon. Bowyer's car was badly damaged and when Gordon's car came to a rest near pit road a fight ensued, which included Bowyer running down into the #24 hauler.
After the incident Bowyer said this, "It makes us look like a bunch of retards, It's pretty embarrassing for a four-time champion and what I consider one of the best the sport has ever seen to act like that. It’s just completely ridiculous."
Bowyer's use of the "r-word" in the statement made many fans very uncomfortable. Many fans tweeted at Bowyer saying he was wrong in what he said and that he lost a fan. Even fellow competitor and NASCAR reporter Hermie Sadler commented on the situation.
“As a parent of a special needs child, I don't like the word retard, but I'm smart enough to know the context in which Clint Bowyer meant it.”
In the case with Clements there is no way possible to understand the context since the comments have not been reported by the reporter who heard Clements say what he said. No one knows the context Clements said the phrase in.
The question is though should that matter. As the rule states in the NASCAR rule book that it prohibits a public statement that ridicules, disparages or criticizes an individual's handicapped condition. Which is something Bowyer clearly did.
Bowyer immediately apologized for the statement on twitter. He tweeted “Very sorry about interview with the R word, I was so focused on not saying the F or the A word…I don't even know what I said!!! #ugh”
Clements issued an apology via his facebook page on Wednesday night.
Clements said “I apologize and regret what I said to the NASCAR writer and to NASCAR, my sponsors, my fans, and my team. NASCAR has a Code of Conduct that everyone must follow and I unintentionally violated that code. I will not get into specifics of what I said but my comment to the writer was in no way meant to be disrespectful or insensitive to anyone or to be detrimental to NASCAR or the NASCAR Nationwide Series. I will do what I need to do in order to atone for my error in judgment. “
On Thursday Clements made another statement to ESPN's Marty Smith regarding the situation.
"When you say 'racial' remark, it wasn't used to describe anybody or anything," Clements said. "So that's all I'm going to say to that. And it really wasn't. I was describing racing, and the word I used was incorrect and I shouldn't have said it. It shouldn't be used at all."
According to Clements' statement the situation is very similar to Bowyer's situation at Phoenix. Yet Bowyer didn't see any kind of repercussion from his comments and Clements has been suspended indefinitely by NASCAR.
It makes you wonder exactly how NASCAR looks at situations. It makes the fans wonder about NASCAR's process in how they review a situation. Bowyer's comment was clearly public and some fans have argued about whether Clements' comments were public because they were not reported.
Either way Bowyer's and Clements' situations are very similar and they violated the same exact rule. Yet, the penalties for both drivers are very different.
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