The Carl Edwards situation should be a wake-up call for the sport. We’ve all been hearing from some of the sport’s top drivers including Carl’s former teammates that everyone is surprised by his decision. This reaction from insiders has me asking a very simple question, did NASCAR push Carl Edwards out of the sport with their decision to partner with Monster Energy?
The timing of Carl’s departure and Monster’s sponsorship announcement is either coincidental or significant and since mystery still surrounds Carl’s decision, I’m led to believe the truth is being withheld. With this in mind I’m saying the timing is significant.
After the Monster sponsorship was announced, I said in a Facebook post the sport will see immediate changes. I had been in touch with several employees of current sponsors and they shared their concern about Monster Energy being the title sponsor. Keep in mind, Monster isn’t your traditional business to business company and some, not all, aren’t sure NASCAR’s new title sponsor is the best product to be associated with. This is understandable since Monster’s brand is edgy and unhealthy for children.
Please know I’m not saying being associated with an edgy brand like Monster is terribly bad. Some companies can do it, but some can’t – with that said in my Facebook post I warned fans and yes, even the media to prepare for a smaller sport. Will Monster deliver fun, girls, music and racing as they confidently said they would? Absolutely yes! Will some of today’s drivers and sponsors be here in one, two or three years? No.
While it won’t be admitted, this title sponsor and I believe NASCAR will unintentionally push many traditional fans and sponsors away.
Back to Carl Edwards – he shared why he was walking away from NASCAR this season. While I do find it odd, I do believe him and if we’re honest with ourselves he doesn’t owe anyone an explanation except his employers. But in NASCAR media fashion, not one person asked him if it had to do with the title sponsor. Let me remind you, his announcement to leave the sport came 30 days after a video of Carl was shared on Twitter prepping fans for 2017. He was happy and he was ready to go racing (The video can be found on @TheThunderCrew Twitter page). Then all of the sudden his mind was changed. Carl claimed the timing to walk away was right. Obviously something happened – a true pivot point.
Could Carl be walking away on a principle?
He is 100% about health and protecting his body. He said just last year in an interview with a fitness magazine, “Before you put anything into your body, take a moment and think about it. Is this making me stronger? Is this going to help me or is this going to hurt me?”
Carl also said,” I haven’t had soda since I was sixteen or so. That was hard since everyone else drinks it, and I had headaches at first. Now, I don’t really even think about it. I don’t drink any caffeinated beverages really. A lot of guys are grabbing Red Bull, or Monster drinks, something like that. I guess I don’t really think about it.”
Carl was on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Energy drinks are not on the menu, especially for children. He said, “I read the report on the impact today’s lifestyle is having on our children. My wife and I have two young children. One sentence that really impacted me was, “The youth of today may, on average, live less healthy and possibly even shorter lives than their parents.””
Keep in mind, Carl’s wife is a doctor. Scan the Internet on how doctors feel about energy drinks. They advise against them. Some countries ban them.
Of course I’m not privy to Carl’s thoughts and I could be way off but maybe, just maybe Carl is protecting the Carl Edwards brand. And while the media and NASCAR won’t touch this…and Carl may never fully admit it to protect the sport and owner he loves, you do have to wonder if he shows up this season in a few Xfinity or truck races, or comes back after Monster is gone in a few years, this opinion could be a possible reason why he walked away.
If he made a decision like this to stand on his principles, he is truly a man I can respect.
Best wishes Carl.
Follow SOZ @TheThunderCrew