The White Zone: A letter of apology to NASCAR nation

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When it came to giving opinions, the late Barney Hall told those who worked for the Motor Racing Network the following. Before you say it, consider two things: One, “Does this need to be said?” Two, “Does this need to be said by you?”

Now I never had the chance to meet Hall, as he passed away a month before I covered my first race. So I’m paraphrasing what I’ve heard from those who knew him. It’s a principle, however, that I keep in mind when I give my take on a subject.

On Sunday, however, I failed miserably at this.

The White Zone: A letter of apology to NASCAR nation

At the conclusion of the second stage of the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR brought the teams down pit road for a moment of silence. Nothing unusual for Memorial Day.

I, an idiot, without keeping the aforementioned principle in mind, tweeted this.

And I took a beating for it, both from fans and media colleagues.

My issue wasn’t with the act, itself. Rather, it was how insincere NASCAR was for doing it, considering it makes money off the campaign it falls under, NASCAR Salutes, sponsored by Coca-Cola. Compounding the matter, the same league invited former president Donald Trump, who did next to nothing to end the forever wars in the Middle East and enabled a genocide in Yemen, to the Daytona 500 in 2020.

In short, I took disgust in NASCAR profiting off what’s supposed to be a time to honor those who gave their lives in defense of the United States.

The White Zone: A letter of apology to NASCAR nation

Where I went wrong

But I made three mistakes.

One, I didn’t make that intention clear in the tweet above.

Two, I did it with the tactfulness of a high school edge lord. Which is something I’ve struggled with since childhood.

Three, and more importantly, I picked the wrong time and place for it. I chose right after the moment of silence concluded, when everyone’s still thinking of loved ones they lost. And did so on Twitter, where the limitations of it don’t allow for nuanced discussions.

At that moment, I pissed off a bunch of people who lost friends and loved ones in combat (and they were right to be). I took a moment that’s meant to reflect and remember, and let out a huge fart.

And for that, I’m sorry.

You’re under no obligation to accept my apology. You have every right to never forgive me, or not do so at this time. All I can say right now is that I’m working to do better, to not be so tactless, to be a better writer and better person.

And I don’t say this to ease my conscience. Rather, I say this, because I understand I messed up.

This didn’t need saying, and especially not by me.

TOP IMAGE: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images