Was Scott Dixon’s Fine Justified?
Last Friday, we learned that Scott Dixon had been fined $30,000 and placed on probation through December 31, for comments made during the Grand Prix of Baltimore. Dixon called Director of Race Control, Beaux Barfield an idiot and that he should be fired for his handling of several calls this season.
When the news came out, I was certainly not surprised. The thing is, based on what I read on Twitter and other forums – it seems that many people were. Some actually thought that Dixon should go unscathed, since he was the victim of what some considered a series of bad calls. Seriously?
Granted, Beaux Barfield has made some questionable calls against the Kiwi during his two seasons in Race Control. Some were blatantly horrible calls (Milwaukee 2012), while some could have gone either way (no call against Graham Rahal at Baltimore this season).
After the pit road tire incident at Sonoma and the lack of a call at Baltimore before Dixon got shoved into the wall by Will Power – Scott Dixon hit the limit. He had seen and endured enough and he went off.
The problem was, he called out Barfield by name and then called him an idiot. Either of those is clearly addressed in the IndyCar rulebook.
There has been a precedent. When Will Power shot the double-bird after the New Hampshire race in 2011 – he was directing those birds directly toward where Brian Barnhart was stationed. The two-handed salute was clearly meant for Barnhart. Unfortunately, they happened to be caught by ABC’s cameras for live worldwide viewing. If I’m not mistaken, Power incurred the same penalty – a $30,000 fine and probation through the end of the year.
Some will say that the bad calls have been mounting up more against Dixon for some time and that IndyCar should look the other way. I disagree.
I’m not saying that the calls against Dixon weren’t bad. They were. I agreed that he should have been penalized for hitting Will Power’s crewmember at Sonoma, but some of the calls were downright terrible. But it doesn’t matter.
No matter the sport – if a participant publicly calls out the officiating, they are going to be punished. In the NFL, a coach doesn’t even need to name names. He can just stand at the podium after a game and talk about the poor officiating and wind up with a FedEx letter from the league later on that week. Have you ever seen the result of a baseball manager or player arguing balls and strikes? It can lead to an early shower.
Whether you approve of the job Beaux Barfield is doing or not – you can’t call for him to be fired and call him an idiot on national TV and expect no consequences. Regardless of a driver’s opinion of Barfield, you have to be professional and treat his position with respect.
A few weeks ago, I got my first speeding ticket in twelve years. It was an obvious speed trap. When I topped a hill, I spotted three police cars with their blue lights on, while they were just waving cars over. As soon as I saw the lights, I looked at my dash. My digital speedometer said I was doing fifty-three mph. The officer informed me I was doing sixty-one. Either way, I was speeding because the speed limit was forty-five. But the difference between fifty-three and sixty-one is a much bigger fine. I pointed out that my dash said fifty-three, but he reiterated I was doing sixty-one (I know I wasn’t).
Did I call him an idiot? Did I say he needed to lose his job? No and no. Why not? Because I know I would have suffered an even more severe fine or punishment. Although I was seething on the inside at myself, the officer and the whole situation – I stayed quiet.
To his credit, I haven’t heard Scott Dixon whining about the fine. He may still have the same opinion of Barfield, but after cooling down, he probably had a strong idea a fine was coming, regardless of how bad he got hosed in the race.
When Dixon opined on live television that Power’s crewmember walking toward Dixon’s car with a tire in his hand was a d**k move; some were screaming for Dixon’s head then. I read some holier-than-thou type saying that Dixon should be suspended for the next race for using such language. Please. It was the heat of the moment and Dixon had a microphone in his face the first time he saw the replay. I had no problem with it whatsoever and actually found it quite funny.
But when you are publicly attacking the officiating crew, calling them by name and calling them names – that’s a different story. It would undermine the credibility of the entire sport if that were to go unpunished.
So, was Scott Dixon’s fine justified? Yes. Whether you like Beaux Barfield or hate him – Scott Dixon took his lumps and accepted his punishment like an adult. Perhaps many of the disgruntled fans should do likewise.