NASCAR & NFL
Tony Stewart killed someone.
Ray Rice beat a woman unconscious.
Neither has been punished properly.
It’s not that much of a stretch to suggest either thinks he did anything wrong.
Stewart hit another driver, who got out of his car after a crash in a sprint car race in New York, and killed him. Kevin Ward Jr. lost his life and Stewart seems ready to chalk it up to one of those racing deals.
Rice beat his now wife unconscious and pled not guilty to a third-degree aggravated assault charge. He avoided trial by enrolling in an intervention program.
The NFL suspended Rice for two games. By comparison, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is facing a season-long suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse program.
Beat your girlfriend unconscious, miss two games. Smoke a joint, miss 16 games. Nice message to send, NFL.
Stewart has missed two NASCAR races, but those “suspensions” were self-imposed. NASCAR has shown no backbone in disciplining Stewart. Apparently he is too much of a money-maker for NASCAR to disrupt or upset.
At least the NFL made a token effort to punish Rice for his indiscretions.
The least NASCAR could do is suspend Stewart from racing until the investigation into Ward’s death is complete.
But NASCAR won’t. Stewart will be back in his NASCAR ride as soon as the heat is off. He should be arrested and face some sort of charge for being responsible for Ward’s death. Of course, no one will have the courage to make Stewart stand trial.
Some good might come of these tragedies yet.
The NFL is reconsidering its rule about suspending players who commit domestic violence. Players should be kicked out of the league. But the NFL won’t implement a rule that harsh. A year-long suspension might be a little more feasible, but even that is too lenient of a penalty.
NASCAR wants to make a rule to prevent drivers from getting out of their cars during a caution period. That would be a great rule, but what is the punishment for drivers who violate it? A fine? The obligatory probation period? NASCAR rules and penalties are rarely effective.
It’s bad enough Stewart killed someone and Rice beat his wife. But it’s hard to fathom how anyone could still support either of them after these incidents. Stewart still has plenty of supporters and fans. Rice’s teammates stood by him and Ravens fans cheered him in NFL preseason games.
It’s been disgusting to watch throughout.
Here are some more uplifting stories in the sports world.
Valencia High graduate Alison Lee reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Golf Championship in New York.
She is the third-ranked amateur in the world.
Lee played Brooke Mackenzie Henderson, the No. 2 amateur in the world, in the quarterfinals at Nassau Country Club. Lee lost on the 18th hole. Henderson led the entire match and was up two holes on the 12th.
Lee, who plays for UCLA, cut the lead to one hole on the 17th hole, but Henderson made par on the 18th hole to win the match.
Valencia High graduate Jonathan Lee made an impressive run through the U.S. Amateur Golf Championship in Georgia.
He qualified to match play after finishing in the top 64 after two rounds of stroke play.
He won his first-round match, 4 and 2, over Taylor Pendrith of Canada. But Chang, a sophomore at Rutgers University, saw his run end in the second round of match play.
Hart High graduate Anthony Ervin took a big step, or stroke in this case, to making the United States men’s swim team for the 2016 Olympics.
He won the 50-meter freestyle at the U.S. Swim Championships in Irvine, knocking off five-time U.S. champion Nathan Adrian.
Ervin, who won a gold medal in the 50 freestyle in the 2000 Summer Olympics, won the race at the U.S. Swim Championship in 21.55 seconds.
It was the first time in 13 years Ervin won a 50 freestyle race.
Saugus High’s Abbey Weitzeil earned a spot on the United States women’s national swim team by finishing in fourth place in the 100-meter freestyle at the national championships.
Her time of 54.38 seconds was a personal best and 0.95 seconds behind the time of winner Missy Franklin, a five-time Olympic medalist.
Franklin will compete with the U.S. national team at the Pac Pacific Championships in Australia this weekend.
Tim Haddock is the sports director at KHTS AM-1220. He writes for the Ventura County Star and the Team USA website. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @thaddock.