State of shame

By Staff
Justin Schuver, Sports Editor
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy, who was the Grand Marshal for Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega, has a theory on why Jeff Gordon is one of the least liked figures in NASCAR.
"He enunciates," Foxworthy has said several times, perhaps most notably in the cult comedy movie The Blue Collar Comedy Tour. "He enunciates. And people from the South ain't having that!"
Jeff Gordon must have done a whole lot of enunciating on Sunday, then.
Let me be clear here. Even though I'm pretty young, I'd like to think that I'm well aware of the reasons that Jeff Gordon was pelted with debris after Sunday's Aaron's 499 race. The win gave him more wins than Dale Earnhardt Sr.; Talladega fans still remember Gordon's controversial win in 2004's caution-shortened race, even though Dale Earnhardt Jr. arguably may have been in the lead at the time; Earnhardt Jr. fans were upset about Gordon's flying of the No. 3 flag after his win in Phoenix in April that tied Earnhardt Sr.'s wins mark.
And yes, Gordon sometimes comes off as a spoiled wunderkind who didn't have to work his way up through the NASCAR ranks. I understand there are a lot of reasons not to like the guy.
But there is NO reason for the fans to have reacted the way they did following Sunday's race. It is a black mark on a state that really doesn't need anymore black marks right now.
When I went to college in the Midwest, I constantly had to defend my home state to friends from big cities like Chicago and New York.
"Oh, no, no, Alabama's not like that. There's plenty of smart people there, and believe it or not we even have the Internet. That Alabama that you see on TV and movies, the one that's just full of dumb rednecks…it's not like that at all!"
Thanks a lot, Talladega. My friends might have almost believed me.
It would have been bad enough if the beer cans and other debris had been thrown just at Gordon's car, but that wasn't the case. They were thrown with reckless abandon, putting everyone at risk – even full beer cans were thrown and could be seen exploding like pipe bombs upon hitting the track.
Now, I realize that it could have possibly been just a few bad apples that aren't a fair representation of this state. But ultimately that doesn't matter. Any sports fan across the country could have turned on ESPN's SportsCenter on Sunday, seen the footage of Gordon's No. 24 car being pelted, and then said, "See! I'd expect nothing less from those Alabama hicks."
And the mainstream media is more than happy to latch on and use it as yet another opportunity to make the state look bad. Blame it on the media if you'd like, but I think the better solution is to simply not do this kind of stupid thing in the first place.
So what is the solution? Well, considering that drinking is almost certainly at the root of this problem, it seems like limiting alcohol would be the first step. Currently, Talladega allows for patrons to bring in their own drinks, a nice gesture considering that the racetrack could probably get away with charging exorbitant prices for alcohol as is the case with most other sporting events.
You can be certain that if fiascos like this continue, that privilege will go by the wayside.
Hello, $8 Miller Lite.
And just like in the case of a kindergarten, it will be a few naughty little boys who can't play nice who will spoil it for everyone else.
And don't think it won't happen. I'm sure nobody ever thought the Winston Cup would become the Nextel Cup, either.
I love this state. I love how the people are genuinely nice; I love the weather; I love the importance of religion and family; I love the passion of its sports fans; I love sweet tea and fried chicken.
It makes me upset to see uninformed bigots slam this state as something it's not.
But it makes me more upset to see things like this give ammo to those bigots.

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Goodbye to a good boy

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

College Street Players to present Newsies: The Broadway Musical 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle adds two police officers 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle bomb threat deemed hoax

Editor's picks

At 90, Carl Winton keeps on trucking

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle man with rare genetic condition headed to Grand Ole Opry

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Morgan delegation discusses recent legislative session 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

College Street Players to present Newsies: The Broadway Musical

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

HU adjusts rates for water, sewer and natural gas services

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Town Council helps Priceville Elementary furnish school 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle City Schools hires three math coaches for 2024-25 school year 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Crestline students rock Alabama Stock Market Games, poster contest

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

New EMA director worries and plans for a living

Falkville

Jonna’s journey: Local woman battles Glioblastoma with unyielding faith 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Sheriff’s Office opens applications for 2024 youth academy

Brewer

MCS Technology Park to host STEAM summer camp for middle school students 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Bridging the gap: Hartselle Historical Society launches guided walk downtown bringing history to life

Falkville

Storm shelter companies see increase in calls for installation

Falkville

Morgan County rabies clinic to be held June 1

Eva

Community class reunion celebrates Morgan schools

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hats off: Class of 2024 graduates from Hartselle High School

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

City adjusts garbage routes for Memorial Day

Falkville

Larry Madison has been a pillar in Falkville for four decades

Hartselle

Hartselle trio nominated for two K-LOVE awards

x