SBD/Issue 204/Leagues & Governing Bodies

League Notes

In a special to the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, Dave Zirin writes despite efforts to improve its image, NASCAR is "still a sport where racism thrives below the surface, and sexism … is as much a part of the scenery as the Stars and Bars." Zirin: "NASCAR is in danger of being crushed by this contradiction. It’s attempting to reach an international audience while displaying the worst kind of backward provincialism.” The $225M racial and sexual harassment suit filed by former NASCAR technical inspector Mauricia Grant “could destroy NASCAR, or at the very least, put it in permanent marketing purgatory. Ironically the person perhaps best-equipped to save NASCAR from itself” is Grant, whose “love of motorsports is so intense, so pure, that she can separate the beauty of the sport from the ugly underbelly desperately clinging to its wheels” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/14).

LOB & VOLLEY: USTA Chief Exec of Professional Tennis Arlen Kantarian, in a Q&A with USA TODAY, said of the U.S. Open Series, which begins today, “As much as anything, the series has brought the sport together with three governing bodies, 10 tournaments, three TV networks and seven sponsors working together to lift the sport. Since the launch of the series, television viewership has doubled, attendance is up and new corporate sponsors have bought into the sport.” Kantarian added, “We’ve needed a consistent summer event calendar that works for the players, the tournaments, our TV partners and sponsors. And with the help of the tours and the tournaments, that’s now in place for 2009 and beyond” (USA TODAY, 7/14).

WILD RIDE: In St. Louis, Kathleen Nelson wrote a "good week for the U.S. teams in the Tour de France was marred Friday" after Manuel Beltran, a former member of the U.S. Postal/Discovery team, tested positive for EPO. Beltran is the fourth former teammate of Lance Armstrong to test positive, joining Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis and Roberto Heras (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 7/12).

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