Opinion: Don’t Shame Drivers for Living Their Lives

News broke earlier in the week that Chase Elliott had fractured his left tibia in a snowboarding incident. Following a successful three hour surgery to repair the damage, Hendrick Motorsports representatives have said that while he is expected to miss several weeks, with no definite timeline for his return.

Cue the madness.

All over social media – particularly right as the news came out – fans were jumping on Chase for the perceived recklessness of his actions.┬áThankfully as more time passed and people had time to gather their thoughts the initial reactions turned to well wishes. Still, some persisted in their calls for drivers to… well, drive – and nothing more. Others were shocked that there aren’t more restrictions on off-track activities baked into driver contracts.

Others seemed to relish the news, but we won’t discuss those losers here. 

Chase Elliott is the sports most popular driver – I understand that, and I’m sure he understands it. But you know what else Chase Elliott is? A person – and one that’s presumably under an immense amount of pressure having to act as the face of NASCAR, whether he wants that role or not. NASCAR drivers (and any professional athlete for that matter) need to be able to do things outside of their profession that they enjoy. If they can’t, Kevin Harvick put it best: “This deal will eat you up.” Work-life balance is exceptionally important – no matter who you are.

“Well he should have done something less dangerous!” To be completely honest…. snowboarding isn’t really all that dangerous if you’re even the least bit competent. According to Hendrick Motorsports president Jeff Andrews, Chase is an experienced snowboarder who has been doing it most of his life. These things just happen sometimes – life happens, no matter who you are. It was an accident, not negligence.

So lay off with the calls for drivers to live like Jimmy Livingston (look it up), and DEFINITELY lay off of the calls for restrictions to be baked into their contracts. Just wish Chase well. He’ll be back soon enough – remember what happened to Kyle Busch when he broke HIS leg?…

Photo Credit: Patrick Vallely

Published by Walker Skeeter

Walker is a 4th year climatology PhD candidate at the University of Delaware. Despite being a climate scientist, Walker has been a NASCAR fan for over 20 years! His favorite drivers are Bubba Wallace, Tyler Reddick, and Alex Bowman in cup, and AJ Allmendinger, Tommy Joe Martins, and Ryan Vargas in Xfinity. Outside of racing, he enjoys talking about (and studying) the weather, watching Baltimore sports, and playing video games.

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