NASCAR Driver Who Unwittingly Sparked Viral ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ Chant Says Sponsors Snubbing Him
19:02 GMT 26.12.2021 (Updated: 19:22 GMT 26.12.2021)
‘Let’s Go Brandon!’ became a viral political slogan used to mean ‘F*** Joe Biden’ after an NBC reporter clumsily attempted to cover up for a crowd of Nascar fans yelling the epithet against the president by suggesting that they were actually chanting in support of a NASCAR driver.
Brandon Brown, the NASCAR driver who shot to global fame through the viral spread of the ‘Let’s Go Brandon!’ chant, says he has been ostracized by some corporate sponsors.
“It got extremely difficult for us…If you’re a national corporation, that means you sell to all consumers…and unfortunately, when you get dragged into the political arena, people want you to take a side,” Brown, a six-year veteran of the NASCAR Xfinity Series, told Sports Business Journal.
“I’ve never been put in a position where it’s ‘OK, what side are you on? Left or right?’ So it’s hard for a brand to want to attach to somebody who might be kind of divisive in their consumer base. If I’m going to divide Coca-Cola, why would they want to talk to me? So the short answer is it’s been tough to connect with partnerships just because it’s kind of viewed as a ticking time bomb: ‘What is he doing to choose or say and how would that effect our consumer base?’ It’s too much of a risk. I can understand it on their side but it’s made it really hard to tie everything down,” Brown explained.
NASCAR's sponsorships are a vital lifeline for the sport’s drivers, with drivers and their teams depending on them to put food on the table and to keep cars on the road. Prize money from race winnings can supplement this income, but for newer or non-superstar teams sponsors are crucial.
The primary sponsor of Brown’s Number 68 Chevrolet is Coastal Carolina University. Last year, his other sponsors included the Trade The Train crypto company, and The Original Larry’s Hard Lemonade. He did not reveal who would sponsor him for next year’s season.
Brown unwittingly became the center of global attention in October during a live interview with an NBC reporter after winning his first race at Talladega, Alabama. The reporter attempted to cover up the crowd’s chants of “F*** Joe Biden” by claiming “You can hear the chants from the crowd, ‘Let’s go, Brandon!’”
The awkward moment went viral, and began to be used at sporting events and other public gatherings across the country to signify dissatisfaction with Biden's performance as president. Republican politicians, musicians, and others have since made liberal use of the phrase, with President Biden himself tricked by a prankster into uttering it during a Christmas Eve address this week.
26 December 2021, 03:30 GMT
Last week, Brown, who is a Republican, told The New York Times that while he initially thought the phrase was funny, it has since made him somewhat uncomfortable. "I'm about the racing side," he said. Suggesting that he doesn't "know enough about politics" to form a strong opinion about the current administration either way, he admitted that he has been annoyed by inflation, which has driven up fuel costs.