On Saturday afternoon, Journalist Daniel McFadin received a massive backlash after he doubled down on his decision to get NASCAR driver Noah Gragson indefinitely suspended for liking a George Floyd meme.
In a post on X, McFadin shared an article he wrote discussing his process of getting the driver canceled and said, "Noah Gragson made a big mistake." He added, "I did my due diligence to make sure it was real."
In the article, McFadin showed the email he sent to Gragson's employer, Legacy Motor Club. The email started, "I'm reaching out regarding a complicated and potentially sensitive issue regarding Noah Gragson's social media activity."
After explaining what the meme was, he asked the team "If this is a real screenshot, and Noah did like a post mocking the murder of George Floyd, what is the reaction of Jimmie Johnson or anyone from team ownership?"
At the time of publication, McFadin's post has over 472k views and just 427 likes. The vast majority of the over 2,000 comments and over 200 quotes were critical of the writer's decision to ruin Gragson's career by liking a meme.
A well-known duo of conservative content creators known as the Hodgetwins asked, "You feel good about yourself for reporting somebody that liked a meme?" In a second post, they posted the meme and said, "This is the meme and it's funny."
Another commenter asked, "A 'big mistake?' For liking a meme? What is wrong with you?"
"Do you enjoy getting someone fired over liking a meme about a criminal? Why are you so supportive of criminals?" another user asked. "It's funny how people think that this is journalism."
McFadin started his public attack on Gragson on Saturday around 9 am. He made a post to ensure social media knew that Legacy Motor Club and Team Chevy were notified of the "indiscretion." He posted, "I've reached out to @LegacyMotorclub and @TeamChevy reps about this - emphasizing the difficulty in verifying it (especially without direct access to the 'likes' portion of Gragson's account) - and am awaiting a response."
Subsequently, Legacy Motor Club announced around 11:30 am, in a post with comments locked, that they "made the decision to suspend Noah Gragson effective immediately regarding his actions that do not represent the values of our team."
In response to his suspension, the 25-year-old driver said, "I am disappointed in myself for my lack of attention and actions on social media." He added, "I love and appreciate everyone. I try to treat everyone equally no matter who they are. I messed up plain and simple."
In a statement, NASCAR expressed its support for Legacy Motor Club's decision. It said, "NASCAR fully supports Legacy Motor Club’s decision to suspend Noah Gragson. Following his actions on social media, NASCAR has determined that Gragson has violated the Member Conduct section of the 2023 NASCAR Rule Book and has placed him under indefinite suspension."
NASCAR has previously taken stands on social issues in the wake of George Floyd's death. In June 2020, the NASCAR president said on Floyd's death, "The time is now to listen, to understand, and to stand against racism and racial injustice. We ask our drivers, our competitors, and all our fans to join us in this mission.” It has also decided to ban Confederate flags from its events and venues following complaints from driver Bubba Wallace.
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