One key detail from how the whole Denny Hamlin situation was handled has been a focal point of criticism directed at NASCAR.
After taking to Twitter to post a Family Guy clip of a woman attempting to “cut across eight lanes” without a signal, in reference to a move that Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson made at the end of the recent NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin found himself in hot water.
Hamlin was clearly frustrated with Larson’s move, as it took out both the 23XI Racing Toyotas of Kurt Busch and Bubba Wallace. But as a close friend of Larson, he tried to express it in a lighthearted manner, adding footage of Larson’s move to the end of the Family Guy clip.
But because the woman in the clip is Asian and Larson happens to be of Asian descent, many considered the post less of a comical representation of what happened in Lincoln, Alabama and more of a racial controversy.
At first, Hamlin replied to the tweet and defended it. But as more saw it offensive, he deleted it and issued an apology.
And after that, NASCAR required that he take sensitivity training, mandating that he start the process by last Friday in order to avoid missing any time behind the wheel of his #11 Toyota. He did that and competed at Dover Motor Speedway over the weekend, though that race had its own controversy for the #11 team.
But what many found ironic about the situation, and hypocritical of NASCAR, is the fact that Family Guy airs on Fox, which is a broadcast partner of the sport.
Hamlin essentially got in trouble for sharing a clip from a show that airs on the same network that broadcasts NASCAR races.
Some did point out the fact that the scene which Hamlin shared has been cut from its episode on certain platforms. However, look at the show we’re talking about. There are plenty of other episodes and scenes that could be deemed “offensive”, especially when you consider Hamlin’s comment that “if it’s one, then it’s one too many”. That’s the nature of the Fox show.
So if one really is too many, and sensitivity training is really considered a necessary step for Hamlin, should NASCAR reconsider their deal with Fox?
Two and two makes four.
But worth noting is the fact that NASCAR’s current television contract with Fox Sports and NBC Sports is worth around $8 billion. So regardless of what the answer is to “should they?”, we know what the answer is to “will they?”.