NASCAR

Changing behavior, not the person

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Steve Byrnes

Steve Byrnes is a host and reporter for NASCAR on FOX. A broadcast veteran, he has covered racing for more than 20 years. Follow him on Twitter.

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I've read a lot of negative things about Carl Edwards, and it troubles me on a lot of different levels. First of all, Carl Edwards put his hands on Matt Kenseth two races ago at Martinsville, and certainly, that isn't right. I don't condone it, but that sort of thing happens in the garage area when drivers get frustrated. The Edwards-Kenseth incident was news because TV captured it. If a camera hadn't been there, it would have been talked about in the garage, but it wouldn't have been a national sensation with hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. I talked with Carl before we did The Chase is On last week, and he realizes what he did was wrong. He apologized for putting his hands on Kenseth, but he said he can't apologize for being who he is. He does backflips when he wins, and he gets frustrated when he loses. He said that he can change his behavior, but he can't change who he is. That's the most honest answer that he could give. Athletes like Brett Favre, John McEnroe and Tiger Woods show their emotions, and as fans, we love to see it. But just because drivers like Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte and Casey Mears are quiet and not outwardly fiery, it doesn't mean they aren't as emotional as Favre, McEnroe and Woods or have the same fierce passion to win. Jeff Gordon has the heart of a heavyweight fighter, but he's a quiet guy.

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Another thing that troubles me are accusations attributing Edwards' emotion to steroid rage. Our society is at a point now where we can say anything about anybody without any accountability. The cow is out of the barn as far as that goes. But whether they're true or not, words have meaning. It troubles me that people can say whatever they want about anybody else. Nobody sees how hard Edwards works out. For example, he runs the stairs at racetracks during testing and on race weekends. He bikes and diets extremely hard. So are we going to say that he's painted with the same brush as players who have admitted to taking steroids? It's baseless, hurtful and irresponsible. It's more of an indictment of where we are as a society than I do, I'm not saying that it's NASCAR fans, I'm saying it's fans in general.


NASCAR on FOX and SPEED host and reporter Steve Byrnes has covered racing for more than 20 years.

Tagged: Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Casey Mears, Bobby Labonte, Carl Edwards

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