Blog Entry

Jimmie Johnson opens up on Golden Tate tweet

Posted on: July 15, 2011 1:28 pm
 
Posted by Brian De Los Santos

Earlier this week, when Golden Tate saw that Jimmie Johnson was up for Male Athlete of the Year at the ESPYs, Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate tweeted out:

"Jimmy johnson up for best athlete???? Um nooo .. Driving a car does not show athleticism"

"I've driven a car on unknown roads at night at 90mph no big deal. No sign of athletism"

"Guarantee he couldn't in million year play any SPORT"

"give me 6 months of training and I bet I could compete"

That put NASCAR nation into action to defend it sport and drivers, which eventually led Tate to tweet:

"I will say my respect for NASCAR has gone up tremendously yalls fans r hard nose and passionate #respect!"
Hence the line of questiong that ensued Friday during Johnson's media session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway



HALFWAY THROUGH THE SEASON, TALK ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT GOING INTO THE SECOND HALF

“Some race weekends we leave kind of down and knowing that we need some speed and some areas to work in; and then other weeks, things go really well for us. Kentucky last weekend was a strong race, a strong 1.5-mile for us. I think the Thursday test session allowed us to work through some issues and try some new stuff and get some data and some ideas and things to work on. We’re excited for our 1.5-mile program. We were very competitive all night long in Kentucky. I know that coming to a mile flat-track, we’ve had some things that we feel would work here and we’re excited to get on track today and hopefully have a very fast race car. We’re doing well. We feel like we should be sitting here with three or four wins. We had some opportunities early and mistakes made team-wide that prevented that from happening.

“I felt like last weekend the chance to race for the win, that’s something that we need to do before we realistically should expect to win. So it was nice to run in the top three, top-five all night long; put the pressure on the pit stops and put the pressure on myself in the car, and Chad (Knaus, crew chief) on calling the race, and try to be in that moment, especially as we get closer to the Chase. As I’ve said every year, the pressure that is put on a team and a driver during the Chase is unlike anything else. So the more opportunities we have to race for wins and to be in that moment, the stronger we’ll be when the Chase comes around.”


WHO WERE SOME OF THE MOST IMPRESSIVE ATHLETES YOU MET AT THE ESPYS BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY YOU’RE NOT AN ATHLETE YOURSELF, APPARENTLY (LAUGHTER)

“Yes, correct (a lot of laughter). I was impersonating an athlete at the ESPYS. Really when you see how tall basketball players are and then how big the football players are; I saw Dirk (Nowitzki, names best male athlete); and Kristine (Curley, his PR person) reminded me that he came to a race a few years back and she has a great photo trying to reach up and put the headset on him. And I saw him and went to introduce myself to him and didn’t think he’d remember me and with his accent and his excitement he was like, ‘I was at your race, do you remember?’ (laughter at Jimmie’s accent). I don’t know if the accent is even close; I just feel like I was trying to sound like (Arnold) Schwarzenegger for some reason (laughter). But it was so funny to see him in that moment and the excitement he had to say hello. Just the event in general, was really cool on that front. I went in ’06, or somewhere in there, and I was shocked then that people throughout sports knew of NASCAR. And then to go back this year and see the reception and interaction sports-wide was amazing. But some big dudes play in other sports. And Ray Allen, when you see him on the court next to Kevin Garnet and Paul Pierce, he kind of looked small next to those guys. I walked up to him and I’m like hey man, what’s up? He’s just a big guy. So, that overall impression was pretty amazing.”

 
SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GOING TO THOSE AWARDS, DO YOU THINK NASCAR HAS GAINED MORE CREDIBILITY?

“Yeah, without a doubt. Just from the applause when I was introduced for the red carpet, the interaction with all the media outlets; I heard that (Jay) Leno put us on and another guy on the carpet as well. Across the board, throughout media and the athletes themselves and the executives that were there, the people at ESPN, there is no doubt that NASCAR is well-known and well received throughout sports.”


RECENTLY THERE WAS AN ARTICLE ABOUT ATHLETES WHO ‘TWEET’. HAVE YOU EVER REGRETTED ANY OF YOUR TWEETS?

“Not necessarily what was in the Tweet, but one, I can’t spell worth a damn; and two, I don’t proof-read often enough. And there have been plenty of responses back. I guess the most recent one, whoever the guy that plays for the Seattle Seahawks, I spelled his name wrong. But fortunately the fans got involved and took out the extra ‘e’ that I put in and made sure that it made it to his phone, I guess.”

 
WHEN FANS SEE YOU AT THAT EVENT, THEY ARE GLAD THERE IS NASCAR REPRESENTATION THERE. WHEN YOU READ A TWEET FROM GOLDEN TATE, THE SEAHAWKS, DOES THAT OFFEND YOU IN A WAY? DO YOU FEEL LIKE THAT WILL EVER CHANGE OR YOU CAN CHANGE IT? WHEN YOU SEE YOUR PHOTO UP ON THE BIG SCREEN, THE IMAGE WITH THE OTHER ATHLETES, DO YOU THINK YOU CAN EVER CHANGE THAT? DID THE TWEET KIND OF MAKE YOU MAD?

“I think as a race car driver that is something we have fought all along. So it wasn’t anything new. I didn’t take great offense to it. I took great pride in watching our sport and all the motorsports fans out there express themselves and share their thoughts. That was really cool. And it’s something we have fought for a long time.

“If you go back to Bill France and his vision, and the only reason I bring this up is because when I won the AP Male Athlete of the Year, I got a letter from Jim France; a handwritten letter telling me how important it was to his father and to his grandfather that drivers would be considered as athletes someday. So it’s been around for a long time and I feel that through the success I’ve had and some of the opportunities I’ve had, and also some of the awards I’ve won, that we’ve helped dispel that. It didn’t bother me. I took great pride in seeing our NASCAR Nation kind of put him in place. And as you watched his timeline, he quickly has changed his song and dance and is now saying he respects the NASCAR group. So, good job everyone.”


WHY DO YOU THINK THIS TOPIC KEEPS COMING UP? WHAT DO THINK THE PERCEPTION IS OF DRIVING AS A SPORT IS AMONG GREATER ATHLETES, NOT THE SELECT FEW THAT TWEET?

“I think it’s easy to make a comment when you don’t know. In a lot of situations, people haven’t been to a race or been close enough to our sport to understand what takes place here. There is also a misconception of what a race shop looks like. When you take folks into Hendrick Motorsports and they thought we were working out behind a gas station working on our race cars.

“So, there is just an education process that has to take place across a lot of mediums. Through sports, I’m excited to see top athletes come in and see what we do and also go for rides in cars and be around. And when they do, they are our best advocates. They are out there telling the story. I think most recently it was Mark Sanchez (New York Jets). He is all about racing. And with some of the free time he’s had lately, he’s been racing. Like he has the bug and enjoys it and it all came from a sponsorship opportunity where he drove a car and rode in a car I think at Charlotte Motor Speedway. And then he came back for the All-Star Race, and then went to Pocono (laughs). He’s just been going and going. So those athletes really help with credibility for our sport. And we’ve known it all along and have been saying it, but when other athletes mention it, we get the credit we deserve.”


DID YOU KNOW WHO GOLDEN TATE IS? WOULD YOU KNOW HIM IF HE WAS SITTING NEXT TO YOU, AND IF HE WAS SITTING NEXT TO YOU, WHAT WOULD YOU DO OR SAY TO HIM?

“No, I wouldn’t know who he is. I didn’t prior to the whole Twitter thing that took place. But I’d just like to show him around and see if we can show him what our sport is about and change his mind. There might be other athletes out there who think the same and they’re all welcome to come out. We’d all love to host them and show them around. I have no hard feelings. Everybody has an opinion. I don’t like it when people express their opinion without knowing. So if he comes and finds that we’re not athletes and has a different opinion if he was to attend a race, that’s fine. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion.”


THE CHAMPIONSHIP LOOKS LIKE IT’S WINDING DOWN TO A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE. WE’RE LOOKING AT THE WEAKNESSES ALL YOU GUYS HAVE. KYLE BUSCH IS THE GUY WE’RE ALL LOOKING AT. HE’S BEEN A GREAT DRIVER FOR SO MANY YEARS, BUT HE HAS SOME KIND OF FATAL FLAW WHEN IT COMES TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP RACE. CAN YOU SENSE ANY CHANGE AND THAT HE IS FINALLY A CHAMPIONSHIP CALIBER DRIVER?

“He’s always been, in my opinion. And weird things out of his own doing, or just back luck or whatever, have come into play in the Chase. I still at this point, do not see a clear favorite. Kyle won last week so he’s probably at the top of the mind for a lot of people. He’s moved up in the points and has had some good races, but I still haven’t seen a dominant car or driver out there this year. I still believe it’s anyone’s championship. And then it’s still a couple of months away; seven races away or whatever it is, and a lot can change between now and then, good and bad, for all the teams. I think it’s going to be a very difficult Chase to predict.”


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Comments

Since: Nov 24, 2007
Posted on: July 19, 2011 4:20 pm
 

Jimmie Johnson opens up on Golden Tate tweet

Why should Johnson take umbrage to Golden Taint's remarks? Taint is a wannabe in the NFL that has accomplished exactly ZILCH!! Before someone of his ilk should be shooting off his mouth, he needs to at least have some kind of an accomplishment. What a tool Taint is!!




Since: Mar 18, 2007
Posted on: July 17, 2011 11:30 pm
 

Jimmie Johnson opens up on Golden Tate tweet

diesel- so then you are saying that you don't need skill to play a sport? ok i get it nascar drivers need skill and the "sports" guys need ????????????????????  it seems to me that you need skill to play all kinds of "sports" to be good.  i am glad you used to visit a track near you but can i ask you this have you ever tried it for your self?  tried handleing that "machine" at the highest level possible and then try to get just that little bit extra out of it and have it go all wrong, get it back in shape and then try it all over again without putting it into the wall or collecting others?  untill you do you will probly never understand why so many of us do call it a sport and feel the drivers are athletes, a different kind, but yet they are.  gymnists are called athletes and all they do in jump, tumble, and hang on bars for a while.  bike riders are called athletes.  look at those that are doing the tour de france right now i should am not going to be the one not calling them athletes and all they do is sit on a bike all day. not much skill there now is it, but yet they are all athletes.  what about volleyball? they do nothing you just stated about rounding home and such all they do is hit a round white ball back and forth and try not to let it hit the ground so are they not playing a sport then either?  please think about what you classify as a sport simply because things change but i will end with this.  let us just agree to diagree as we both have our opinions as to what an athlete is. they all come in different shapes and forms and in all reality an athlete has skill at what they do or they would not be doing it.     fair enough?  Smile



Since: May 1, 2009
Posted on: July 17, 2011 11:05 pm
 

Jimmie Johnson opens up on Golden Tate tweet

Purestock- Nascar is a skill but not a sport, Just like the skills I have stated. Also I said its a skill not a sport. A sport is something where you put it in a net round home get into an endzone. When you hear someone say they play sports you know its one of the sports you just mentioned.  A sport is also something you have athletisism as well. Nascar doesn't qualify. I used to have a midget track in my town a long time ago. Its fun to watch race cars going at high speeds, but that doesn't make a driver an athlete that plays a sport either. Hes operating a machine.



Since: Mar 18, 2007
Posted on: July 17, 2011 8:42 pm
 

Jimmie Johnson opens up on Golden Tate tweet

etork-by your own statement then there should be no such thing as a sport or athletes.  football, basketball, baseball, and all others are just participants in and event also.  next argument please



Since: Dec 16, 2006
Posted on: July 17, 2011 10:59 am
 

Jimmie Johnson opens up on Golden Tate tweet

I would like to see any of you doubters  jump in a race car at Daytona or Texas  and go 3 wide into the turn with a bump draft for 4 hours at 200 MPH with a 110 degree inside the car.  The argument of "it's just driving a car" is bogus. Golf is hitting a little ball with a stick and then walking around for 4 hours. Baseball is hitting a little bit bigger ball with a little bit bigger of a stick. Football and Basketball are running around throwing a ball. Each sport has their own physically demanding aspects, but to sit here and claim that one is less a sport then any other or that the person is less an athlete is absurd. Unless you have actually followed the routine of any of these guys and gals and played at the physical level that they have day after day, week after week and experienced it yourself you have no place to comment about what is and isnt a sport.



Since: Feb 27, 2007
Posted on: July 16, 2011 8:25 pm
 

Jimmie Johnson opens up on Golden Tate tweet

Nothing against race car drivers, or auto racing itself, but auto racing is not a sport and drivers are not athletes. It's not an insult. I don't know why fans and drivers are so hung up on this. Why do they want to be called athletes and why do auto racing fans want it to be called a sport? It is an event and they are participants. Nothing wrong with that. I understand the whole physically demanding argument. However, there are many things that are physically demanding and are not sports. Take child birth for instance.



Since: May 11, 2007
Posted on: July 16, 2011 7:07 pm
 

Jimmie Johnson opens up on Golden Tate tweet

"I've driven a car on unknown roads at night at 90mph no big deal. No sign of athletism"



WOW!!! 90mph??? What a speed demon that Golden Tate is. In this state the highway speed limit is 75mph, so 90 not such a big deal here either... Maybe Tate should focus on his job, and prove he`s an athlete.



Since: Mar 25, 2011
Posted on: July 16, 2011 2:21 pm
 

Jimmie Johnson opens up on Golden Tate tweet

A bunch of rednecks abusing the speed limit is not a sport.



Since: Mar 18, 2007
Posted on: July 16, 2011 1:04 pm
 

Jimmie Johnson opens up on Golden Tate tweet

diesel- so you are saying that when kids start in go-karts at the age of 7 or younger and then move to mini-sprints at 10 then to a 4-cyl or legend type car at 13 then to a full size car at about 16,17 then up to a superstock/mid american then late models and so on and so on doesn't count as being in "youth leagues"?  sounds to me like you need to take mr. johnsons advice and go to a race of any kind whether it be nascar or your local short track. some short tracks out there have a fan particpation to drive track provided cars against friends. i suggest you try it.
the next thing i have to ask is this. if you call nascar a skill sport then everyone and there brother can play football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and what ever else might be out there then. cause by your definition those "sports" don't need skill. am i reading and understanding you correctly?  to me i would say ALL SPORTS require skill to be good and a professional. 
you also mentioned the pit crews as being skilled also. well just to let you know that alot of the teams out there employee former football players so they have top quality athletes to just change tires and fill gas.  it, to me, sounds like you really need to educate your self on the sport of racing.



Since: May 1, 2009
Posted on: July 16, 2011 11:21 am
 

Jimmie Johnson opens up on Golden Tate tweet

Nascar is no sport. Thats like saying kids drag racing is a sport..lol.  A sport/athlete is someone who plays sports, one in which is played from youth leagues up to the big leagues or even some sports that don't start until college like rugby. Golf is a skill like, playing pool or even bochii ball...lol. Nascar may fit under a skill department. I also read something about pit crews. These are skills to perform on cars. Not to say they aren't good at it. They probally are the most skilled mechanics, but not to be considored as athletes.


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