You know what? I’m sick and tired of seeing athletes and sports figures abusing family members – whether it be spouses, children, significant others or the like. And I’m especially sick and tired of seeing the sanctioning bodies of these sports fumble their way through a mock investigation, maybe a suspension for a week or two, or maybe a Pontius Pilate-like absolution of their own deeds.
Let’s see. Ray Rice. Adrian Petersen. Hope Solo. Enough already.
And that means you as well, Kurt Busch.
I’ve mentioned Kurt Busch in this blog before, and I’ve mentioned the NASCAR driver’s issues regarding a domestic violence lawsuit against his former girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll.
On Friday, ESPN reported that the Kent County (Delaware) Family Court commissioner issued an order of protection against Busch, citing the following:
“The Court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that, on September 26, 2014, Respondent [Kurt Busch] committed an act of domestic violence against Petitioner [Patricia Driscoll] by manually strangling her by placing his left hand on her throat, while placing his right hand on her chin and face and smashing her head into the wall of his motor home.”
Okay, read that for a moment. He put his hand on her throat and smashed her head into the wall of his motor home. A court found this to be so. A court issued an order of protection for Busch to stay away from Driscoll and her child because of this.
Now I understand that NASCAR is reluctant to get into the business of its drivers, unless they do something like run over an opposing team’s pit crew member, or if they use barnyard expletives over the radio, or if one of the lug nuts on their tires is a 16th of an inch too large…
But I have to remember, this is a sport that looked the other way when one of their second-tier-talented drivers, Travis Kvapil, assaulted his wife. Did Kvapil drive in the next race? Yes he did. Did he continue to drive for the rest of the season? Yes he did.
So why should I expect that NASCAR will park Kurt Busch? What kind of a message is NASCAR sending by NOT telling Kurt Busch to get out of his car and stay off the track? Is the message that it’s acceptable to assault someone and then drive in a race and hope that people will buy the products whose companies sponsor your car?
Oh yeah. Let’s take a moment and list all the sponsors that are festooned upon Kurt Busch’s #41 Chevrolet. His main sponsor is Haas Austomation, a machine and tool building company. He is also sponsored by State Water Heaters, Monster energy drinks, Mobil 1 automotive products, and Oakley sunglasses.
Think for a moment. These are the same companies that are willing to put their name on a car that is being driven by someone involved in domestic abuse.
Listen, I think Kurt Busch is a hell of a race car driver. But I also know that he has a very short temper; he’s wrecked other drivers, he’s cursed out pit reporters, he’s gotten tossed from top-tier race teams. This guy’s such a fast-ticking time bomb, MacGruber wouldn’t have enough time to diffuse him.
And now we see it off the track as well.
So let me pass this message to the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. Do all of us a favor. Take Kurt Busch out of the #41 Chevrolet. Put someone else in that car. I don’t care who. There’s dozens of drivers who compete in NASCAR’s other racing circuits who could drive just as well as Kurt Busch.
And I haven’t heard that any of those drivers have assaulted their girlfriends or put their girlfriends’ heads into the side of a wall.