December 28, 2011
Ah, Twitter. You're so convenient. So concise. So public. We all have moments when we want to instantly tell someone about what we're seeing right then and right there. And Twitter, you do a damn good job of providing us a platform.
When at the grocery store on Tuesday, Kasey Kahne tweeted that he saw a woman breastfeeding her child in an apparently very open way, and expressed his reaction to what he saw, adding a couple (off) color comments to the initial observation.
Of course, that first tweet (and the deleted follow ups) led to responses, and Kahne responded to one response with an insult that also has been deleted, but screen grabbed in infamy.
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And in a perfect encapsulation of our social media internet world, Kahne issued an apology Wednesday night for those comments via his Facebook page.
I understand that my comments regarding breastfeeding posted on Twitter were offensive to some people. For that, I apologize. It was in no way my intention to offend any mother who chooses to breastfeed her child, or, for that matter, anyone who supports breast feeding children. I want to make that clear.
In all honestly, I was surprised by what I saw in a grocery store. I shared that reaction with my fans on Twitter. It obviously wasn't the correct approach, and, after reading your feedback, I now have a better understanding of why my posts upset some of you.
My comments were not directed at the mother's right to breastfeed. They were just a reaction to the location of that choice, and the fashion in which it was executed on that occasion.
I respect the mother's right to feed her child whenever and wherever she pleases.
I'm not going to get into the issues surrounding Kahne's comments or defend or condemn, except to say that it's another reminder of the — sometimes absurd, sometimes not — blowback that can be sparked with off-hand social media comments by public figures. (And besides, do you really want to be reading about the social acceptance and practice of breastfeeding in public? No, you don't.)
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Situations like these are a bit of a catch-22 for NASCAR, its drivers and fans. We've heard the cries for more personality and less "vanilla" too many times to count as the commercialization of the sport increases even further. And conversely, we've seen how well drivers like Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth have been accepted on Twitter over the course of the last year because of their unscripted comments. It can be a fine line between personal and professional and hopefully this need for an apology doesn't push Kahne too far to the public relations realm on his Twitter account.
60 days until the Daytona 500.
Follow Nick Bromberg on Twitter at @NickBromberg.
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