Why is Jeff Gordon so unpopular ?

April 10, 2007 |

Why hate Jeff Gordon ??? I’ve never really figured out why he’s ranked up there with pariahs, like Barry Bonds, Terrell Owens and Kobe Bryant. Unlike these guys, Gordon has no history of scandal or criminal conduct.

If you’ve been to just ONE NASCAR race, you know exactly what I’m talking about regarding fan contempt for Gordon. Each week, race fans can count on a couple things …. Gordon will be loudly booed during pre-race introductions, and if he wins the race, the track will be littered with coolers and refreshment containers.

I must admit there was a time when I couldn’t bare watching him win. For me, it was in the mid – 1990’s, when everything he touched turned to gold. The endless string of victories, coupled by his pre and post – race Bible thumping in the garage area got old quick. He reminded me of a young Jerry Falwell, albeit with a lead foot.

However, with the arrival of the 21st Century, we were exposed to a more “human” Jeff Gordon. His “perfect” marriage to Brooke Sealy (former Miss Winston) crumbled amid allegations of marital misconduct – on his part. Such pressures seemed to affect his on-track performance, and he became the subject of tabloid fervor. Yes, he had to be the first NASCAR driver to make the cover of the National Enquirer.

Although, Gordon’s racing achievements have waned a bit . . . . he hasn’t secured a championship in more than 5 years, he remains the “poster boy” for all that is hated with the masses of NASCAR fans. Perhaps, this contempt is tied to Gordon’s early and overwhelming successes. At 24, he became the youngest NASCAR Champion – in the modern era. And at 35, he’s amassed 75 victories; just 1 shy of tying Dale Earnhardt. Can you imagine the day he passes Earnhardt? For his safety, I hope Gordon doesn’t do this at Talladega …… where he’s most vilified.

For me, after watching professional athletes run afoul of the law, and break rules of integrity, I decided to reassess the career of Jeff Gordon. Here’s a guy who’s NEVER been in legal trouble and NEVER broken the rules to secure victory. I’ve basically decided to accept the truth (and I’m about to make Drew Forrester happy) …. Jeff Gordon is simply the most talented individual to ever pilot a racecar. There, I said it.

Please, shower me with hate mail. I can take it. The truth is Jeff Gordon can do things other competitors cannot do. At 35, it looks like the “REAL JEFF GORDON” is back. He’s sitting atop the standings and displaying a fierce determination we haven’t seen in years. It appears the only roadblock to the return to glory is Gordon’s protégé, Jimmie Johnson. However, if last week’s race at Martinsville is any indication, Gordon won’t allow his friend/teammate stand in the way.

Come on Earnhardt fans – give it to me. You know where to go …… rex@wnst.net

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