So, quick question, who do you think should be defending the rights of individuals and groups to say whatever they want no matter how politically motivated or stupid they are? The obvious answer would be, "Politicians."
But apparently this answer is wrong.
Today is the day of some big NASCAR race. I don't know, I don't like NASCAR, I don't care, but other people enjoy it, so let 'em. They can watch their cars with bright flashy colors, and I'll watch my ponies with bright flashy colors. It's a win-win. But today's race, the Sprint Cup, is actually getting flack. Senator Chris Murphy is a Democrat from Connecticut, and he has written a letter Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp, to get the company's Fox Network to cancel broadcasting the race specifically because the NRA agreed to sponsor it a month ago.
In many ways, this is simply (you should pardon the expression) target marketing. NASCAR is big with Southern culture, which is racing and pick'em up trucks and guns and shit. In fact, this photo here on the right is an AP photo of Jimmie Johnson from the Sprint Cup series race this past November in Fort Worth, Texas. Believe it or not, it is tradition in the Texas Victory Lane for the winner to get a cowboy hat and a pair of six-shooters they can fire to celebrate their victory. Chill out, those are blanks in the guns, prompting people watching at home to yell, "PUSSY!" It's the perfect demographic. This is actually the second NASCAR race the NRA has sponsored. Last September, they sponsored the Nationwide race in Atlanta. Both and the current race in Texas going down today are owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc.
So, back to Murphy. Murphy is worried because the race sponsorship is occuring while Congress is wrestling with gun control legislation, and he feels this giving promotion "to an organization that has been the face of one side of this heated issue." Uh, that happens A LOT with modern political PACs and social issues, you aren't complaining about them. "Broadcasting this race, which will highlight the NRA and its radical agenda during this time, sends a harmful signal to the families affected by gun violence, as well as the millions of Americans who support sensible gun control measures and enjoy your sports programming." He concludes, "your company would now essentially endorse the NRA's extreme position against such laws by broadcasting this event."
Eddie Gossage is the president of Texas Motor Speedway, and he says the NRA's sponsorship is "not about politics. It's about sports marketing."
Brad Keselowski is the defending Sprint Cup champion and he also owns guns. "I can't speak for everybody but I can speak for myself in saying that I would really rather stay out of politics and just race. That is certainly not the situation though. Sometimes we get thrown into it whether we want to or not. I think the best thing is just to acknowledge it and try to move on with it."
Sorry, buddy, you can't move on. There's a politician looking for cheap publicity, and he needs people to exploit.