"Let's Go Brandon" is a no-go for NASCAR.
NASCAR has turned down a sponsorship deal between driver Brandon Brown and the cryptocurrency LGBCoin, according to several news reports.
Brown's racing team Brandonbilt Motorsports announced ahead of schedule last week that LGBCoin – a nod to anti-Biden chant – would be its 2022 sponsor for the second-tier NASCAR Xfinity Series.
NASCAR made no public statement, but a NASCAR official reportedly told Axios on Wednesday that "no form of this derogatory and vulgar euphemism would be allowed with any color scheme or sponsorship".
LGBCoin, an almost worthless crypto currency, is named after the song "Let's Go Brandon", a euphemism for "F – Joe Biden". The phrase came after Brown won the first race of his career in Talladega, Alabama, last October. During a live television interview and while the crowd chanted the anti-biden slogan, NBC sports reporter Kelli Stavast winked at the background noise and said they had to sing "Let's Go Brandon".
After the phrase quickly became a political meme, Brown publicly feared that the singing portrayed him in a negative light and tried to distance himself from it. “I have no interest in waging a political battle. I drive cars, ”he wrote in a comment published in Newsweek. But in the end he said he would use his time in the spotlight.
A Brandonbilt Motorsports spokesman told Fox Business that a NASCAR official previously phone approved the deal.
"We are disappointed that the NASCAR leadership decided to withdraw approval of this sponsorship and believe that they should have the confidence to withdraw their decision and not to gaslighten a team or driver," said Brandonbilt Motorsports – Spokesman Max Marcucci opposite Fox Business on Wednesday. "Unfortunately, the way the NASCAR leadership has dealt with this situation threatens to strain our relationships and puts us in an unbelievably uncomfortable position again."
In November, NASCAR President Steve Phelps made it clear that he was uncomfortable with the phrase. "We don't want to associate ourselves with politics, the left or the right," said Phelps. "As a sport, we have obviously always had great respect for the office of President, regardless of who is sitting."
Phelps made inclusivity a key point for NASCAR as he sought to expand the sport's traditionally southern, white, conservative fan base. In recent years, NASCAR has banned the Confederate flag and vowed to better tackle social injustice.