This week we have a guest post by Q4G reader Kyle Schomer – a huge racing fan raised on the short tracks in the Mid West and now calling the South West home.
Kyle had some opinions on the social media reaction to the Stephen Rhodes interview on Speed last week that he wanted to share with to Q4G audience. You can follow Kyle on Twitter – @remohcs and find him on Facebook.
Stephen Rhodes must be having a gay ole time with his recent media frenzy. The long time racer has announced that he has an interest in returning to one of NASCARs major touring series in 2014, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Though Rhodes ran a couple races in the series in 2003, no one really made a stink about his personal life; a decade later, gay matters.
Stephen took time away from racing to support his (ridiculously cute) partner while he pursued his dream of opening a restaurant. Now, Rhodes announced that he is ready for his comeback to NASCAR.
Cue the pandemonium! The winds picked up! Hail fell from the skies! Fires burned across America!
Sort of; It was really just people tweeting a lot.
One tweet got quite a bit of attention, 3 retweets in only it’s first 5 days!
@NASCAR if YALL allow a gay DRIVER IN you can consider this 25 year fan OUT!!! DALE EARNHARDT WOULD TURN IN HIS GRAVE!
— SNAKEMAN (@harden_matt) July 18, 2013
First of all, I would like to congratulate SNAKEMAN for making the decision to come OUT; it’s incredible how athletes serve as role models to America’s children.
Second, he shouldn’t be so dramatic. Being dramatic is like a slippery slope; one minute you are whining about other people, the next, you are shaving your head and beating off paparazzi with an umbrella. I’ve seen this happen. It’s not cute.
Negative tweets like SNAKEMAN’s, were actually much like real SNAKES, uncommon…and icky. Most of the comments were overwhelmingly positive, and that really makes me proud to be a gay, and proud to be a NASCAR fan.
@SRhodesRacing thank you for your courage to openly live your truth. You gained a new fan with your honesty. Here's to truck racing in 2014!
— starweaver (@starweaver) July 18, 2013
@SRhodesRacing hope to see you full time in the trucks next season!!
— Scott Brawner (@Scooter6945) July 18, 2013
@SRhodesRacing everyone deserves a chance to follow their dreams … good luck
— Tim Doss (@tim_doss) July 18, 2013
Some tweeters expressed concern over media explosion, and referred to the news as “Hoopla”, but @pineapplecakes brought attention to the importance of the media stir.
@SRhodesRacing some hoopla is worthwhile, though! Like, how cool is it that you're now a role model to young LGBT interested in racing?
— sand cornish juror (@pineapplecakes) July 18, 2013
Of course when I was a little gay boy, I would have loved to have a role model like Stephen Rhodes. That is why this is such an important moment in NASCAR. It would have made a difference in my life, and it very well may make a difference in someone else’s.
Stephen Rhodes definitely has people talking. The discussion isn’t whether or not NASCAR should allow a gay driver; it is whether or not the opinion of the fans is enough to make an impact on the sport.
So, does gay matter? I say no, but I also thought OJ did it; obviously I’ve been wrong before.
The sponsor will come. Maybe it won’t be Wal-mart or Chick-fil-A, they aren’t really into the whole diversity thing; but maybe MasterCard or Visa? Microsoft, Google, Target, Starbucks or even Facebook? There is a long list of companies that are proud to be LGBT supporters, and it may be a good financial decision for those companies.
What about ticket sales? The ticket that doesn’t go to John in Georgia will just be mailed to Jake in Ohio. And the weekend family package for the Richards family? The Richards family is still going to the races, they freaking love it. I believe the very small number of fans who abandon their passion, will be balanced out by the number of queens in the nation who will tune into a sport because it’s fun, and exciting, and there are a ton of cute guys.
Time will tell if a ride pops up for Rhodes, and if it does, he could very well be the Top of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Stephen Rhodes is making a charge, and a change. As for SNAKEMAN, I say turn off your T.V. and go back to thinking you are a white male in the 1920′s. The rest of us are going racing.