NASCAR president Steve Phelps on Friday denounced the use of the chant “Let’s Go Brandon” that’s become conservative code in right-wing circles for “F— Joe Biden” and frequently used at recent NASCAR events this fall.
Phelps said that NASCAR does not want to associate itself with politics and regrets that the phrase originated at an October NASCAR event at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway, where a reporter mistook a crowd chanting “F— Joe Biden” as instead saying “Let’s Go Brandon” in celebration of driver Brandon Brown’s victory.
“I feel for Brandon,” Phelps said in his annual State of the Sport address. “I think, unfortunately, it speaks to the state of where we are as a country. We do not want to associate ourselves with politics, the left or the right. We obviously have and we’ve always had, as a sport, tremendous respect for the office of the president — no matter who is sitting.”
The moment went viral last month when Brown won his first ever NASCAR Xfinity Series at Talladega Speedway, but in his post-race interview, NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast reacted to the crowd chanting “F— Joe Biden” by interpreting it as “Let’s Go Brandon.” It was unclear whether the reporter actually misheard the crowd or was doing damage control in the moment. But the phrase has picked up steam in right-wing circles, even inspiring a song that briefly topped iTunes charts.
“Do we like the fact that it kind of started with NASCAR and then is gaining ground out elsewhere? No, we’re not happy about that,” Phelps said.
Others have also directly associated “Let’s Go Brandon” with NASCAR and created t-shirts and merchandise that utilize the sport’s logo and trademarked color scheme, and Phelps added that doing so was “not OK.”
“We will pursue whoever (is using logos) and get that stuff,” Phelps said. “That’s not OK. It’s not OK that you’re using our trademarks illegally, regardless of whether we agree with what the position is.”
You can listen to Phelps’ full address here.