Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday June 19, 2008
As much as Brian France would like to fuggiddaboutit, it is well known throughout the racing world that NASCAR is now facing a huge, multimillion dollar lawsuit claiming, among other things, sexual harassment and racial discrimination. The suit is being brought on by one Mauricia Grant, or “Mo” as she is more commonly called. “Mo” was a NASCAR Official in the now Nationwide Series for about two-and-a-half years — from 2005 until her termination in 2007 — and “Mo” is a 32-year-old Afro-American female. Those are all facts.
Now, before I get to far along in all this, I want to say that I have read the 43-page lawsuit in it’s entirety and I have read Mo’s comments from her first face-to-face interview since filing the lawsuit. I am not writing this to proclaim guilt or innocence upon anyone involved; I am merely sharing with you some of the questions and concerns that I have after reading all the material. (Due to space limitations, I cannot possibly list all the accusations here. I strongly urge you to read the material yourself at the links provided — especially the lawsuit — so you have some sort of sense as to just what the heck I am rambling on about. As an added bonus, I will tell you that the lawsuit is uncensored and contains language that my editors are constantly cutting from my articles, despite my claims that you, the reader, prefer that sort of thing).
With that in mind, I offer these ponderings or pontifications from the viewpoint of not only a writer, but also my experience from working in a large corporation under the HR dept., from my experiences at working factories and mostly male jobs; and, perhaps more aptly, from the viewpoint of a regular, Midwestern Joe who likes stock car racing.
To begin with, one thing that sticks in my mind is the fact that, in the suit, Grant made numerous references that many of the “incidents” didn’t just happen at the track, but at the pool, at dinner, and/or other social gatherings that she was invited to — or in which she was a willing participant. This leads me to think that IF the conditions were so bad, why was she hanging out socially with these guys? If they did not like her, and she did not like them, why were there so many opportunities? Why was she invited to activities OUTSIDE of work that became the cause for her to be offended?
Yes, NASCAR may be mostly a guy’s world; but even so, in today’s age, I don’t care who you are or where you work, guys in general are NOT going to be that blatant if they don’t consider you “one of the gang” and are confident that you can take it knowing that no real offense is meant. This is a sue happy society we live in — EVERYONE knows that. If she was THAT unhappy, there are other agencies to go to if you get no action from your superiors; especially in cases supposedly as bad as hers. She was there a long time. She was one of the gang, at least from their perception, a perception that she seemed to enjoy and one that she seemed to perpetuate.
Another thing that seems a bit odd to me after reading her comments during the interview is the fact that she was persuaded to keep a written “log” of perceived wrongs at the behest of her sisters. Now, “Mo” claims that she did not intend to “set up” NASCAR for this lawsuit, but I ask you this; isn’t the whole purpose of a “log” of every little perceived wrong — a written archive to fall back on IF you should need it later — done to prove something? Is there not intent implied by its very existence? It’s not like she was writing in her diary. No, she was given a pen and paper (or spreadsheet in this case) and told by others basically… “Hey, that is wrong! You need to keep track of that so we can use it later if we have to.”
No, something went wrong and pissed her off, and now we have a lawsuit against a plaintiff with deep pockets. Not only that, it appears that whatever “anguish” and
“suffering” she is having right now, 225 million dollars will make it all better. (It sure as hell would cure me of being offended or discriminated against!)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally dismissing the guys’ behavior either, especially the higher ups. They, as executives should have NEVER joined in the joking AND should have put a stop to it, or at least have told the guys to tone it down around them as they are in a position of authority and represent the company.
No, there is more to the story than we know or are likely to ever find out. I do not think she would win in a trial, especially with the caliber of money grubbing scum… I mean, lawyers, that NASCAR can afford. But I think she does not want a trial; NASCAR will more than likely settle out of court. She’ll gets a few million with the stipulation she keeps her mouth shut from now on, and she’ll go away. NASCAR sweeps it all under the rug, avoiding a long drawn out process that, even in victory, will surely hurt the way in which the company is perceived; and a few lawyers will go out and build expensive houses in stupid locations that some natural disaster will destroy and then they will sue God, because God should have told them that that might happen!
Like I said, I am not stating the guilt or innocence of anyone, but I guess I am calling into question the motive of the lawsuit. That to me, seems a bit suspicious.
Stay off the wall,
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