Brandon Brown will not capitalize on his âLet’s Go Brandonâ fame for his Xfinity series car.
By multiple reports, NASCAR will not allow Brown to sponsor a Let’s Go Brandon cryptocurrency on his car in 2022. Brown’s team announced last week that they have entered into a full season deal with LGBCoin to be on their car in the second tier Xfinity series. .
NASCAR immediately said the team’s announcement was premature and made the decision Tuesday to ban the sponsorship.
The phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” became a euphemism for “Fâ Joe Biden” after Brown claimed the first victory of his career at Talladega in October. Fans in the stands were heard during the race broadcast chanting this final line about the president as Brown was interviewed on the track after the race. Kelli Stavast, the NBC reporter interviewing Brown, wore in-ear headphones and referred to fans chanting “Let’s Go Brandon”.
Once snippets of the interview were posted on social media, the right-wing information ecosystem immediately turned âLet’s Go Brandonâ into a rallying cry and a joke.
Brown tried to avoid associating with the expression after it became heavily politicized and even wrote an op-ed in Newsweek in December in a weak attempt to present itself as apolitical. Less than two weeks after the editorial was published, Brown and his team adopted the tagline and announced sponsorship for the play which has “no intrinsic value.”
The team’s endorsement of the phrase came after NASCAR President Steve Phelps made it clear in November that NASCAR was not thrilled with the phrase and its associations with the sanctioning body. Phelps said NASCAR will target anyone using NASCAR marks in LGB-themed merchandise.
âWe don’t want to get involved in politics, left or right,â Phelps said ahead of the final race of the season. “We obviously have and always have had as a sport immense respect for the office of the president, regardless of who sits.
âI think it’s an unfortunate situation. Do we like the fact that it sort of started with NASCAR and then gained ground elsewhere? No, we’re not happy with that. But we’ll continue to make sure we do. respect the Office of the President. “
According to The Athletic, NASCAR told the team in November that any sponsorship deal associated with the phrase would not be approved.
NASCAR attempted to draw a non-political line after hosting former President Donald Trump at the 2020 Daytona 500. Trump’s appearance became a de facto pre-race campaign rally and he took a lap in the presidential limo .
Months later, amid social and racial justice movements that swept the nation, NASCAR banned fans from flying the Confederate flag in its footsteps.
The team had publicly argued that NASCAR had approved the deal
Despite that November message from NASCAR, Brown and his mid-level team have been arguing since the announcement that NASCAR approved the sponsorship ahead of its announcement.
On Tuesday afternoon, just before NASCAR’s lack of approval was made public, the coin’s founder posted a screenshot of an email Sunday morning after Christmas from a NASCAR person who said the sponsorship was approved. The social media post included the name and contact details of the person from NASCAR who responded and said the sponsor was approved.
The email to NASCAR was also published in the coin’s founder tweet. In it, the team requested approval for the paint scheme and listed the coin as a cryptocurrency. While it seems obvious what “LGBCoin” meant – and would have been easily understood with a simple search – there was no direct reference to the three-word phrase apart from the acronym.
It should also be noted that sponsor approval and paint scheme approval are not always mutually exclusive. NASCAR has not approved paint schemes for approved sponsors in the past. It is also now clear if the person who was in contact with the team did not have the authority to fully approve both the sponsor and the paint scheme. It’s not uncommon for something approved at a lower level in a large corporation to be deleted by those higher up the corporate ladder.
And in case you’re wondering, here’s what the Xfinity Series rulebook says about sponsorship approvals.
“NASCAR may refuse to allow a competitor to participate in an event if NASCAR determines that any advertisement, sponsorship or similar arrangement to which the competitor is or will be a party is detrimental to the sport, to NASCAR, to the Series Sponsor or to the the promoter for any reason, including, without limitation, the public image of the sport.
Decals, advertising slogans, paint schemes and other graphic designs and text on the vehicle that have not been previously approved by NASCAR must not be used unless and until they have been submitted by the Chief of Staff. team at NASCAR Headquarters and approved by NASCAR prior to an event. The review and approval of decals, advertising slogans, paint schemes and other graphic designs and text on the vehicle which have not been previously approved by NASCAR is at the sole discretion of NASCAR and such approval may be refused for any reason. reason whatsoever. All NASCAR members agree to accept NASCAR’s decision in this regard.
What’s next for Brown?
After choosing to directly associate with the slogan, Brown and his team made the conscious choice to go into politics. This choice was made less than two weeks after a story from the New York Times which included this quote from Brown.
âAll of our boating is, you want to please everyone because, overall, everyone is a consumer,â Mr. Brown said after our ride. âI don’t want to get involved in politics. “
Brown was either lying to the New York Times when he said the words, or he quickly changed his mind. Once you get political in a series run by sponsors like NASCAR, it’s impossible to be apolitical again. And Brown and his people seemed to realize it. The team had recently retained the services of a public relations representative from a crisis management firm.
Brown can also find himself in an untenable situation. He is now without the full season sponsorship his team has craved for years and any company hesitant to partner with the understatement will not consider spending money with their team. It’s not a great combination with less than two months to go into the 2022 season. And Brown and his team have no one to blame but themselves if they tried to pull off a quick one. on NASCAR after that November meeting.