NASCAR Denounces Conservative ‘Let’s Go, Brandon’ Rallying Cry
AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) – NASCAR has denounced its association with the political cry “Come on, Brandon” used across the country as an insult to President Joe Biden. Steve Phelps, president of NASCAR, said Friday that the best motorsport series in the United States does not want to be associated with “left or right” politics.
Phelps also said NASCAR will pursue actions against any illegal use of its trademarks on merchandise displaying the slogan. Retired baseball star Lenny Dykstra posted on Twitter this week a photo of a man having breakfast at a New Jersey hotel wearing a black “Come on, Brandon” shirt next to the color bars of NASCAR brand.
“We’ll go after whoever (uses logos) and get that stuff,” Phelps said. ” It’s not good. It is not acceptable for you to use our trademarks illegally, whether or not we agree with the position.
Brandon Brown won his first career NASCAR race in October in Alabama, and the Talladega Superspeedway crowd at the Xfinity Series race chanted “F— Joe Biden” during Brown’s interview. It was not clear if NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast, who wore headphones, could hear what the crowd was saying during the interview, and she mistakenly told Brown that fans were clapping “Let’s go, Brandon ”.
The line has become a rallying cry for critics of Biden, and “Come on, Brandon” is now a conservative code for the original vulgar chant.
“It’s an unfortunate situation and I feel for Brandon, I feel for Kelli,” Phelps said. “Unfortunately, I think that is a testament to the state we are at as a country. We do not want to associate with politics, left or right. “
It’s a reversal of NASCAR’s long history that allows political candidates to use its races as campaign stops. President Donald Trump was the honorary 2020 Daytona 500 starter and the sold-out crowd in February made the NASCAR Super Bowl feel like a campaign rally until his plane flew over the Florida circuit after its order to start the engines.
The drivers and their families posed for selfies with Trump ahead of the race, and in early 2016 defending Cup champion Chase Elliott was among a handful of drivers who attended a rally in Georgia with then NASCAR President Brian France to support Trump. Several members of the group, including NASCAR’s most popular driver, spoke on stage.
NASCAR also took aggressive positions on social justice issues in 2020 during a nationwide racial calculation following the death of George Floyd. NASCAR has banned the display of the Confederate flag at its events at the behest of Bubba Wallace, its only full-time black driver. Wallace wore an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt on the pit lane and ran with a Black Lives Matter paint scheme in a race.
Phelps said NASCAR respects the presidential office.
“Do we like that it kind of started with NASCAR and then it’s gaining ground elsewhere? No, we’re not happy with that, ”said Phelps.
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