NASCAR head vows to crack down on unofficial ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ merch

Unofficial merchandise using the NASCAR logo alongside the words ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ – a political meme meant as a coded slur toward President Joe Biden – is illegal and will not be tolerated, according to the company’s top exec.

Addressing reporters for a ‘state of the sport’ presser on Friday, NASCAR president Steve Phelps said the anti-Biden meme is “unfortunate” and “speaks to the state of where we are as a country,” but insisted racing should not get mixed up with political causes.

“We do not want to associate ourselves with politics, the left or the right. We obviously have and we’ve always had as a sport tremendous respect for the office of the president no matter who is sitting,” he said during a press conference at Phoenix Raceway in Arizona.

With respect to the trademarks used on that statement, to the degree they’re using a NASCAR logo, we will pursue whoever that is and get that stopped. That’s not ok. It’s not ok that you’re using our trademarks illegally, regardless of whether we agree with what the position is or not.

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NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Brandon Brown celebrates after he won the darkness shortened race at Talladega Speedway, AL, USA, October 2, 2021
‘Let’s go Brandon’? NBC reporter ‘mishears’ NASCAR fans chanting ‘F**K JOE BIDEN’ during post-race interview

The ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ meme was conceived on accident, after NBC sports reporter Kelli Stavast interpreted chants of “F**k Joe Biden” from the crowd at the Xfinity Series at Talladega in early October as encouraging slogans for victor Brandon Brown, who she was interviewing post-race. The trope quickly took on a life of its own, becoming an encrypted invective against the Democratic Biden administration and even giving rise to merchandise bearing the innocent-sounding slogan.

Phelps’ pledge to quash any unofficial ‘Brandon’ themed NASCAR merch came just days after retired baseball star Lenny Dykstra shared a photo on Twitter of a man wearing a shirt styled along the lines of the NASCAR logo with the anti-Biden phrase, also including the acronym “FJB” in parenthesis to stress its intended meaning.

While news outlets across the US regularly published material deeming ex-President Donald Trump a “white nationalist” or worse during his stint in office – including a 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post comparing his administration to the Holocaust – the same outlets have decried the ‘Brandon’ phenomenon and its more explicit cousin as an unprecedented level of political vitriol. The Post declared last month that anti-Biden opposition is “far more vulgar and widespread” than that of his predecessors, while a CNN analyst recently made waves after likening the ‘Brandon’ chant to a loyalty oath to the Islamic State terrorist group (IS, formerly ISIS).

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FILE PHOTO: The NBC logo is seen outside the NBC News Today Show studios at Rockefeller Center in New York City, New York, U.S., October 9, 2019. © REUTERS/Mike Segar
NBC mocked for spinning ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ as threat of violence against Biden after gun sellers use meme as marketing ploy

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