Mauricia Grant: Why I'm Taking NASCAR's Side

Jen PrestonSenior Analyst IJune 20, 2008

Yes, that's right- I'm writing another article about the now infamous Mauricia Grant, for y'all's collection.  Don't know who she is?  She's the former African American NASCAR official suing them for $225 million.

Why?  Grant claims she was harassed because of her race and her gender.

"She didn't report anything to anybody," Brian France, NASCAR CEO, said Sunday at Michigan.  "If this had been brought to our attention, we could have investigated.  She chose to make it about money, and we'll deal with that."

That's my major problem with Ms. Grant.  If she really was fired because she reported her alleged harassment, why didn't she write letter after letter after letter to Brian France, HR, SOMEONE saying 'This is what happened to me, this is what happened when I said something and I want to talk to you about doing something.  Now.'

Did she do this?  No.  In fact, after HR called to talk to her, saying she needed to improve her job performance- something she called "so obvious(ly) a retaliation to me"- Grant said "Am I supposed to open my mouth and call HR back and just like list the things that I needed to talk about?"

OF COURSE YOU DO!  If this is that serious you tell every official you come in contact with to get it taken care of.  Instead, she did exactly what Mr. France said : she made it all about the money.

Grant told Sports Illustrated she began documenting her alleged abuse when an official, when she asked if she and her sister looked alike, said "well, you both have the same color."

Grounds for a lawsuit?  Really?  Well shoot call my lawyer because a teacher at my school said my hair was black and it is CLEARLY brown...

Not onlythat, but Grant claims numerous times she "doesn't remember" the harassment she suffered from in 2005 except what friends and family "remind" her of what she said.  Grant also doesn't recall what she said when she immaturely (in my opinion) jumped on the officials headset after being terminated and ranting about it for the whole track to hear.  Now that's maturity.

Please be joking me.  If victims of crimes remember the exact details of their ordeals, why can't Mauricia Grant recall even a whole year of harassment?  Please, if anyone can explain that to me, do.

When SI asked what her worst fear was, Grant claimed it was that "I would be hurt."  She said that traveling with fellow officials that one talked about being black and the KKK- "just picking my brain about being black or the black experience."

So, inquiring about one's race in a sport dominated by Caucasians is a reason to sue?  Oh crap- remind me to never talk to my cousin's husband about his race, then.  I can't afford a lawsuit!

And also, if Grant was so "afraid", why did she not only not report it (according to NASCAR), but continue to travel with them?

Sports Illustrated asked Grant where she thought the sport would be in five years.

Not surprisingly, the 32 year old said NASCAR will need more women and minorities, but now that she's come out "their backs are against the wall."  To a point, I agree with her.  As a female myself, I'd love to see more female drivers with real talent, such as Krissy Wallace.

Look, NASCAR is supposed to be home to the best drivers in the world.  If they're white, great.  If they're female, cool.  If they're African American, awesome.

Owners shouldn't, however, go out and say "Oh, you're black and you driver so I have to hire you so the sport looks good."  That's stupid.  Diversity will come, and yes it'll take time, but it will be here.

I'll probably get negative feedback for this.  Some will say I'm not sensitive to Grant the alleged harassment she may have suffered.  Others will defend her and tell me how wrong I am.

But, as a female wanting to be involved in this sport, it hurts me.  I hope to cover NASCAR, spending my days at the track and in the garage.  The last thing I want is for people to say "She's female- watch what you say, she could take it wrong." 

If her claims prove to be true, shame on NASCAR.  But if it's just dismissed... yeah, my back may be against the wall, too.