Last Wednesday, Total Sports Blog reported that Jeremy Clements, a NASCAR Nationwide Series driver, had been suspended by NASCAR indefinitely for violating the Code of Conduct.
We finally have reasons for the suspension. According to MTV, Clements uttered a racial slur in a conversation with their editor, Marty Beckerman. This was Beckerman’s first time covering race weekend at Daytona and NASCAR in general. The slur was said prior to the Drive for COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway.
“I was there to do a fish-out-of-water story about going to NASCAR and having a wild, crazy weekend. And, we were doing interviews with many of the drivers, and I was on the way to another interview — we were looking for [driver] Johanna Long’s trailer — and the NASCAR publicist called Mr. Clements over and asked him for help finding her,” Beckerman said. “He walked us toward where she was, and on the way over, I explained to him that Guy Code is rules for guys, how you treat your friends, how you treat your ladies, things like that. I was there to do a humor piece, so I asked him what would be Guy Code for race car drivers, and he blurted out [a phrase that used the n-word].”
Clements has since apologized, but that isn’t enough for NASCAR. Clements is being sent to sports diversity expert Dr. Richard Lapchick before he will be allowed back in the car. As of now, there is no time-table on when Clements will be able to get behind the wheel of the No. 51, which bears his namesake.
Many of NASCAR’s favorites took the time during their media availability on Friday at Phoenix International Raceway to voice their disappointment in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver.
“It’s really unfortunate that he chose to make that decision at that time to use that language,” Dale Earnhardt, Jr. said. “I don’t like it and there’s no room for that in my life. It’s just unfortunate that had to happen to him. I hope he can get that sorted out. It just looks bad on the sport. One person’s mistake looks bad on a lot of people and looks bad on the sport.”
While his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jeff Gordon, wasn’t shocked in how NASCAR is handling the situation.
“It’s very clear to me that NASCAR has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to things that could be detrimental to the sport or have a negative impact on the sport,” Gordon said. “I don’t know all the details, but obviously, whatever was said, drew them to that conclusion.”
While Jeff Burton states he wants to know what exactly was said and in what context it was said in before commenting.
“I don’t think NASCAR would suspend someone for something small,” Burton said. “I don’t think they would. I don’t know what was said, I don’t know how it was said.”
Beckerman said that Clements has called him to discuss the quote, saying “let it be known that he regretted it.”