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The 411 Douchebag of the Week: Danica Patrick

June 12, 2017 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz

The 411mania Douchebag of the Week

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the latest edition of The 411 Douchebag of the Week. I’m Bryan Kristopowitz.

BillMaherNword

Well, this Bill Maher thing sort of fizzled out, didn’t it? There was a major uproar right after he said the “N” word during the opening interview of his HBO show Real Time, he apologized the next day, some people demanded his firing, HBO played coy with what it planned to do with Maher (the premium cable channel didn’t do anything publicly beyond denouncing Maher and his use of the word and editing the offending word from the archived episode), and Maher went on his show this past Friday night, apologized again several times and was “schooled” on race and the “N” word by Eric Michael Dyson and Ice Cube (James “Desolation” Williams). What was surprising was Maher really didn’t try to defend himself.

Well, Maher sort of tried to defend himself. He blamed his use of the word on being a comedian, of reacting to something said to him and trying to be funny. Ice Cube thought that Maher crossed the line/”fucked up” because Maher tries to do “black” jokes every so often and he likely just got “too comfortable” with the idea of using it. Maher tried to defend himself on that, again, with the “I’m a comedian” defense but he didn’t really press it as much as I thought he would. Maher owned up to what he did and tried to make amends. And I think he did an okay job.

Was the aftermath of the incident a bit too self-serving? Yeah, probably a little. But Maher owned up to it, apologized, and now we all get to move on.

As for why Maher didn’t appear in the main body of last week’s DBotW, I didn’t know anything about it until about an hour before I finished writing the column Saturday night. I had a weird work schedule last week, really wasn’t around the internets all that much over the weekend, and, ultimately, didn’t get a chance to watch the Real Time episode in question until Wednesday. And, heck, when I do watch Real Time, I usually watch the monologue, the middle joke section, and “New Rules.” I only watch the interviews and the panel discussion if the guests are interesting and people I want to see (or if I have the time to watch the show in full in the first place, which isn’t always the case). If the internets hadn’t exploded, I probably wouldn’t have known about the incident at all. I decided to mention it at the very end simply because it was such a big “pop culture event.” I couldn’t go into it, though, because there was no way I was going to be able to watch the episode and see how it all played out in time to write about it.

So when do you think Maher will screw up next? And what will he say when he screws up?

And now onto this week’s Douchebag of the Week.

Douchebag

DanicaPatrick1A

This week, the 411 Douchebag of the Week goes to NASCAR superstar Danica Patrick, for her recent fan incident in the pits at Pocono Raceway. According to various reports, Patrick was approached by a fan for an autograph while walking on pit road. Security prevented the fan from getting close to Patrick. A group of nearby fans, who saw the whole thing happen, then booed Patrick. Instead of just walking away or just signing the fan’s whatever, Patrick told the booing fans that she doesn’t like to be booed, she has feelings, it isn’t her job to sign autographs, and that she’s a “fucking person.” The incident was apparently uploaded to Facebook but it was removed. It does exist on YouTube, though, and it’s pretty awful.

Now, are fans, in general, entitled jerks at times? Sure. Fans have asked for pictures and autographs and whatnot at “bad” times, and it would be nice if people figured out that it isn’t a good idea to ask for an autograph or a picture when your idol is washing his or her hands in the bathroom or eating dinner with his or her family. At the same time, it makes no real sense, in this day and age, for celebrities to lose their minds on fans and complain about, essentially, being a celebrity. The celebrity rarely, if ever, “wins” these events. In Patrick’s case, she should have just walked away. I don’t understand how she even heard the booing with everything that was going on around her (have you ever walked around a pit area, either at a NASCAR event or a local short track? I don’t know how anyone hears anything. There’s shit and noise happening all over the place). But Patrick didn’t walk away. She had to walk over to the booing fans and complain.

Are any of her points valid? Yes, to a certain extent. She was busy at the time and wanted to focus on her car and telling her crew chief what was going on with her car, etc. Who wants to be distracted when they are busy? But it’s wrong to say that she isn’t paid to sign autographs and be civil with the fans, even in the most trying circumstances at the race track. She’s paid to represent her race team, Stewart Haas Racing, her sponsors, and NASCAR/auto racing as a whole. NASCAR prides itself on how open it is with fans and constantly claims that when you go to the track it’s all about the fans. Why wouldn’t a fan think it’s a good idea to ask a driver for an autograph whenever he or she sees said driver?

And since NASCAR is in the midst of a “contraction” period, it makes very little sense for any NASCAR competitor to complain to any fans at any track. It’s not like NASCAR is booming and growing at a record pace like it did in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s. NASCAR still gets good TV ratings and is still, in the TV sports world, a big deal, but it isn’t the big deal it used to be. It needs all of the fans it can get.

And think about this. Patrick is having sponsor issues. Nature’s Bakery is long gone, and she’s had issues scrounging up enough sponsorship for the 36 race 2017 Cup season. There’s discussion that SHR may fire her/get out of the last year of her contract/may not renew her contract for beyond 2018. She can’t afford the bad publicity.

People make mistakes all of the time. Stuff happens. And Patrick is right, she is a “fucking person.” But she can’t fuck up again like she fucked up in the pits at Pocono. She just can’t.

I’m a Danica Patrick fan. I wish she never left Indycar (she probably would have won the Indy 500 by now if she had stayed). And I want her to succeed in NASCAR. NASCAR needs her. With Dale Earnhardt, Jr. retiring at the end of 2017, Patrick will be the only driver in the Cup series that has any mainstream credibility. People know who she is. NASCAR can’t afford to lose her.

But what if Patrick had just walked away, someone complained on social media, and it became a big “elite celebrity callously ignores fans” story? How would she have “fixed” that? By finding the fan, signing a hat or something, and taking a picture with that fan. And it would have been a nice little “misunderstanding” moment, everyone would have smiled in the end, and it would have been no big deal.

So what’s the moral of the story? If you are a millionaire sports celebrity, don’t complain about your job being a millionaire sports celebrity. It never works out for you. At the track, if a fan wants your autograph, give them one. If a fan infiltrates your motorhome and waits inside your bathroom to get a candid photo or something, call the cops. But if you’re in the pits and someone walks up to you looking for an autograph? Sign it.

Never yell at your fans. Never complain. It just doesn’t look right.

**

And now for this week’s honorable mentions…

Rex Ryan and his brother Rob Ryan, for getting into some kind of public fight with some guy at a bar in Nashville. According to the story, we don’t really know why the Ryan brothers are involved in this fight at the bar. We don’t know what was said, who said what, etc. But that shouldn’t matter. Why the hell are they fighting? In what world does any of this make sense?

Jessica Alba, for having to settle a consumer fraud lawsuit involving her online company Honest Co. Apparently one of her company’s products contained a chemical component that the company said the products wouldn’t contain, and as a result the company was sued for false advertising. It’s commendable that she wants to sell organic products and whatnot, but, even if she isn’t being held personally liable for fraud, the whole situation is still pretty messed up.

-Noted attorney Gloria Allred, for being kicked out of the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial courtroom for repeated violations of the “no ringing cell phone” rule. You’d think that a lawyer representing people involved in the case, and a seasoned, well known kick-ass lawyer at that, would make sure that she was following the rules of the courtroom. And you’d think that, after being warned once about her phone, that she would make absolutely sure that her phone wasn’t going to “accidentally ring” in court. But Allred didn’t do that. What the hell? Come on, Gloria. You can’t make rookie mistakes like that. You’re Gloria goddamn Allred.

Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, for whatever this stupid fucking thing is between them. Don’t these millionaire international celebrities have anything better to do than “beef” with one another? And isn’t this all over some bullshit involving a backup dancer or something? Lame as hell.

**

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Danica Patrick image from http://www.stewarthaasracing.com/