How much punishment is enough punishment for using a racial slur? NASCAR is allowing Jeremy Clements to return to the track after some counseling following use of a racial slur in an interview. He wasn’t referring to blacks when he said the n-word and he’s since paid a fine and taken sensitivity training. So is it time to forgive him his indiscretion?
Via Latinos Post:
Two weeks after being suspended indefinitely by NASCAR for using an inappropriate slur during an interview at Daytona, Jeremy Clements has been reinstated to race again.
Clements, a Nationwide Series driver, was reinstated on Wednesday, NASCAR officials announced, roughly two weeks after he was suspended for what NASCAR says was Clements’ use of the “n-word” during a Feb. 23 interview with MTV blogger Marty Beckerman during the weekend of the Daytona 500.
After taking several racial insensitivity counseling sessions, NASCAR has agreed to reactivate Clements, but will keep him on probation until September.
“As part of the requirements for reinstatement, Jeremy Clements participated in an individualized program with Dr. Richard Lapchick and his staff at the National Consortium for Academics and Sports,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations in an official statement on NASCAR’s website. “In Dr. Lapchick and his staff’s judgment, Jeremy has successfully completed the program. We’re pleased that Jeremy has taken these important steps and will return to racing starting this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.”
The suspension cost Clements $2,400 to take the classes and he missed out on two races at Phoenix and Las Vegas.
In an interview with ESPN, Clements, 28, said that this period was a tough time for him, but he had learned a lot from the experience and about using certain words in a racial context.
“I learned a great deal about that and myself, how it affects everything that has to do with family, friends, church, sponsors and the team. I’m excited to be back in the race car. Nothing like that will ever happen again,” he said.
The comment drew attention at a time where NASCAR has been blossoming outwards in diversity with the rise of female race car star Danica Patrick and the arrival of African-American driver Darrell Wallace Jr. as a full-time Truck Series participant.
“We want as many different fans as we can get,” Clements said. “We want a diverse set of fans and people to be in the sport. I definitely don’t want people turned away from [NASCAR] just because that word was used one time.
Based on the original account of the incident, Clements used the word to refer to a “racing term” and not in regards to any specific person or race of people.
“He [Clements] walked us toward where she was, and on the way over, I explained to him that ‘Guy Code’ [the name of an MTV blog] 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].”
Should that matter?