In wake of driver's death, Nascar posts tone-deaf tweet
Famed driver Tony Stewart appears to hit fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr. on the track in a fatal collision. Nascar decides to emit (and then remove) a very insensitive tweet.
By now, millions have seen the disturbing footage showing Nascar driver Tony Stewart appearing to strike fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr. with his car during a race Saturday in upstate New York. Ward Jr. was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The aftermath has brought accusations and recriminations.
However, for those who make money from motorsports, there seemed little pause for reflection.
First, Stewart's own management described the following day as "business as usual," with Stewart supposedly planning to participate in another race, regardless of the previous night's events.
In the end, he withdrew. However, Nascar decided to offer less a lament for an awful death than a lamentable piece of communication.
It took to Twitter and mused: "With heavy hearts, we turn our attention to today's #CheezIt355."
It added: "#NASCAR Countdown begins now on @ESPNNASCAR."
The tweet has since been removed, but Salon's Elias Isquith captured it for posterity. The mere juxtaposition of a supposedly heavy heart with an event called the Cheez-It 355 reeked of a devil-may-care in which the devil really doesn't do a lot of caring.
Might Nascar have thought about not promoting its race at all? Might it have thought instead of merely offering its condolences to Ward Jr. and his family?
Instead, it appeared to some as if it was using the news of a driver's death to enhance interest in its Cheez-It.
I have contacted Nascar to ask why the tweet was removed and whether it had any comment about it. I will update, should I hear.
It's a wonder that no one thought, before sending such a tweet, that writing "A driver died, watch today's race" might not have been even vaguely considerate.