Faultless Injustice: A Case Study

It is largely forgotten now, but the Brandon in “Let’s Go Brandon!” is NASCAR driver Brandon Brown. It was he who was being interviewed by NBC sports reporter Kelli Stavast at a NASCAR event October 2 when the then-popular “Fuck Joe Biden!” chant began to drown out the exchange. Stavast, thinking too quickly for her own good and not properly mindful of the falling credibility and trust of her profession, decided to try to cover for the crowd, NASCAR, or the President and commented that the NASCAR spectators were chanting “Let’s go, Brandon!,” which they clearly were not.

Thus a slur, a joke, a catch-phrase and a rebuke was born, one that has not only not faded, but that appears to be gaining in frequency and legend after nearly three months. And who has been harmed by the chant, other than civil discourse, respect for the office of the President, and our political culture?

Why Brandon himself, that’s who, though he is the one blameless party in the whole chain of events. The chant, he says, has killed his prospects of signing sponsorship deals, costing him untold thousands in future income.

Brown told Sports Business Journal,

If you’re a national corporation, that means you sell to all consumers … and unfortunately, when you get dragged into the political arena, people want you to take a side. I’ve never been put in a position where it’s, “OK, what side are you on? Left or right?” So it’s hard for a brand to want to attach to somebody who might be kind of divisive in their consumer base. If I’m going to divide Coca-Cola, why would they want to talk to me? So the short answer is it’s been tough to connect with partnerships just because it’s kind of viewed as a ticking time bomb: “What is he doing to choose or say and how would that effect our consumer base?” It’s too much of a risk. I understand it on their side but it’s made it really hard to tie everything down.

This is horribly wrong and unjust, but there is no one to blame. No one could have predicted that the ad-libbed phrase would become an ongoing controversy, that it would be spoken on the House floor, used to punk the President, and turn up on coffee mugs and bumper stickers.

Sometimes events spin out of control, and the dinosaurs start eating the tourists. It’s Chaos Theory in action, and chaos isn’t ethical or unethical, though it is in human nature to assign blame and assert wrongdoing when someone gets hurt.

Kim Potter understands.

Addendum: It would unfair to blame Stevast for what has befallen Brandon, but  her deliberate false reporting shouldn’t be white-washed, either. The standard narrative now is that “Stavast confused a NASCAR crowd’s chants of ‘Fuck Joe Biden’ for ‘Let’s Go Brandon!,'” as the Daily Mail most recently put it.

The public’s never going to trust again you if you keep lying, guys, even when you’re just trying to be kind to a colleague.


8 thoughts on “Faultless Injustice: A Case Study

  1. For a guy who makes his living driving a car at 200 miles per hour in three lanes of traffic, Brandon Brown is an extremely articulate and evidently intelligent fellow. Good for him.

  2. To supplement sponsorship deficiencies, perhaps he could setup an Only Fans site that lets subscribers hear him commentate front the drivers seat while racing.

    Is it too late to copyright the phrase “Let’s go Brandon”?

  3. If Brandon were sly enough, he might (MIGHT!) be able to turn the Let’s go Brandon! Slogan away from Biden and toward himself in a way that gets him more attention.

    It is risky, but only he could pull it off.


    • Neat idea but I just don’t see how he could possibly monetize it. Good slogan for a fan club, though. but I think it would be an upcliff battle.

      • Maybe a fan club slogan or T shirts with the slogan and a picture of his face or his car, but still dicey as he’s outlined. I don’t think there’s that much money in fan clubs or selling T shirts. These guys are really fast outdoor advertising businesses with trade balances larger than the economies of some small countries.

  4. I still don’t think Kelli Stavast was trying to cover for the President or NASCAR, or anyone else, really, than her own tv station. The simple answer is she clumsily tried to prevent an FCC fine on her employer for broadcasting profanity. Could it have been done more competently? Sure. She could have indicated to cut off the audio and asked Brandon Brown to interview in a place away from crowds. But not every split second decision turns out well. Ask Kim Potter.

    • She would never, ever be fined by the FCC for the actions of the crowd that she could not control, and by then there were many similar instances—unless she was afraid of pro-Biden punishment from Big Brother. She lied. In fact, she Jumboed. It doesn’t matter what her reasons were.

      • Stavist’s main error was in thinking she needed to say ANYTHING in reaction to the crowd’s chant. If the producers, who could certainly hear every word, thought it serious enough, it was their responsibility to cut audio, go to another interview and postpone the one with Brown until he was in victory lane. This or something similar was bound to happen in one of those “finish line interviews” that have become the norm, where the crowd is only yards away.

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