Parent Involvement in Professional Sports Should Not Happen

Jeff KerrContributor IJune 8, 2010

LONG POND, PA - JUNE 06:  Joey Logano, driver of the #20 Home Depot Toyota, stands on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 at Pocono Raceway on June 6, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
John Harrelson/Getty Images

The impossible has finally happened in professional sports.

Parents have worked their way into their child’s professional athletic career.

Tom Logano, father of NASCAR prodigy Joey Logano, stirred a controversy at the end of last Sunday’s race at Pocono.

Logano told his son to confront Kevin Harvick because Harvick unintentionally wrecked Logano with five laps remaining.

Joey Logano was clearly at fault for the wreck.

Harvick gave Logano room to pass him earlier on that lap and Logano did not make the move. When Harvick decided to hold his ground and fight for the position, Logano dove to the inside.

Harvick had no room left on the track and unintentionally spun Logano. Instead of a top-10 finish, Logano ended up 13th while Harvick finished fourth.

I’m okay with Logano going over and confronting Harvick about the wreck. However, I’m not satisfied with who told Joey to go over and start an argument.

Tom Logano is the spotter for his son’s car. Tom has been Joey’s biggest supporter since he started racing. I’m fine with that. He is being a good father.

Does he really have to follow his son all the way to the highest level of stock-car racing?

Over my years of playing sports from little-league to the high school level, parents have always been involved in their children’s athletic career.

I have also learned that the one who plays the most is usually the one whose parent (or parents) coaches the team.

Parents practice this strategy up to the high school ranks. They coach their children so their children can get playing time. If they cannot do that, they just complain to the coach about their children not playing. Sadly, it usually works.

I’m not saying all parents complete this stunt. Some actually know the game and are coaching in the best interest of the team, not their child.

If this is not true, ask Tom Logano if he will he continue his job with Joe Gibbs Racing if Joey suddenly quits NASCAR or signs with another team. Probably not.

He’ll follow Joey wherever he goes. That’s fine.

Just do it from the stands and not the pit box. Joey’s a great driver and could be one of the best ever. He does not need his father fighting his battles for him when he gets into trouble. When Joey decided to race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, he became a professional stock-car driver and an adult at the same time.

Professionals solve their own problems. Joey did not solve his problem. Tom tried to solve it for him, but got Joey in a heap of trouble with Harvick and his wife.

He told his son to fight Harvick, which probably encouraged Joey to take cheap shots at Harvick and his wife.

Not a good move by either party.

Instead, Tom should be a good father by telling Joey his comments were wrong instead of supporting that decision.

Tom Logano is the first professional or collegiate athlete’s father (that was not a former player or coach) that I heard of in professional sports.

Hopefully, this trend does not continue or professional sports will never be the same.