Don't air NRA race, senator asks Rupert Murdoch
April 11th, 2013
07:45 PM ET
7 years ago

Don't air NRA race, senator asks Rupert Murdoch

(CNN) - The National Rifle Association-sponsored NASCAR race slated for this weekend is "inappropriate in the immediate wake of the Newtown massacre," Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, wrote to the race's broadcaster on Thursday.

"The race not only brings national attention to an organization that has been the face of one side of this heated debate, it also features the live shooting of guns at the end of the race," Murphy wrote to Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, which owns the Fox network where the race will be broadcast.

In March, the Texas Motor Speedway announced the NRA had sponsored the NASCAR Sprint Cup event on April 13, which marked the first time the gun owners group has sponsored a race in NASCAR's top series.

Last year, the organization sponsored a Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The April race had been promoted as the Texas 500 after the track's deal with Samsung ended last year.

The winners of races at the track are often given two revolvers and a cowboy hat while taking photographs in victory lane. The fastest qualifier is awarded a shotgun.

In his letter to Murdoch, Murphy cited the News Corp. boss' past support for tighter gun control laws in the United States, including a message Murdoch posted on Twitter shortly after the December Newtown shooting.

"Nice words from POTUS on shooting tragedy, but how about some bold leadership action?" Murdoch wrote.

"I would like to make a similar challenge to you," Murphy told the media mogul in his letter Thursday. "You should play a constructive role in our national dialogue by refraining from broadcasting the NRA 500. By airing this race you will be strengthening the brand of a radical organization that is currently standing in the way of meaningful progress on this issue."

Fox Sports remains under contract with NASCAR to broadcast certain Sprint Cup races.

CNN's Steve Almasy contributed to this report.

Filed under: NRA
soundoff (708 Responses)
  1. Richard Stickles

    Really? What business does a Senator have telling NASCAR what to do? Can anyone say "Over-reach" again? It's time politicians, both Rep AND Dems, get put in their place on this Earth. They think they can control every aspect of American life, but it's just not so. I for one, am getting tired of these over paid politicians who are only coming up with new ways to rip off the middle class... and let's not even talk about those below the poverty line! NO ONE is helping them!

    April 12, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  2. RoninWild

    This comes pretty close to government censorship; certainly a powerful person's attempt to influence the media to shape public opinion. Shame on Senator Murphy, but at least he's shown that he stands against the first amendment as much as he does the second.

    April 12, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  3. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    Chris Murphy, please do everyone a favor and resign if you don't support free speech and the constitution!

    April 12, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  4. DeftTrolling

    Oh no! not the dead babies that they had no connection to what so ever. I mean all gun owners all over the country are responsible for those, DON'T FORGET THEM, dead babies! That makes sense right? The organization that helps protect people's rights is responsible for the deaths of those DEAD BABIES because a tool they support the right to own was used to KILL those BABIES!

    April 12, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  5. ObjectiveGuy

    Typical liberal loser. Ever hear of a little thing called "freedom of speech". FYI, you can't revoke others' free speech rights but keep your own. Liberals believe in free speech, as long as the opinions expressed agree with theirs.

    April 12, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  6. Mike

    When will this liberal barrage of senseless dialog end? Why doesn't the anti gun coalition come up with viable proposals to curb gun violence rather than more useless gun laws that do nothing but burden law abiding gun owners? Criminals and crazy folks are the problem, but I guess they make up a large part of the liberals support base, so they don't want to lock them up. Guns are inanimate objects just like knives, cars and badebalk bats, incapable of violence. It takes a deranged individual with bad intent to cause harm.

    April 12, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  7. BCM

    It is ok for the government to spend tax payers money to bring in their lobby group, but it is apparent that an organization are bad because they wish to spend their own money to lobby. That my friends is offensive.

    April 12, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  8. Joe

    Strange that this senator would single out the NASCAR event but remain silent on the Glee episode. Could it be the different political leanings of the two different networks and their target audiences; punish one while letting the other slide?

    April 12, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  9. qwertyuiop

    Tobacco and Alcohol companies were banned from advertising in motorsport. Then why not Firearms ??? They're worse than the other two.

    April 12, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  10. Namemicmacman

    freedom of speech is just that. mr murphy gets to speak publicly then so does the nra. i no longer support the nra's possition but i'm a race fan so i'll watch the race and ignore the hoopla. thats the beauty of america, you get to make your OWN mind up. try THAT in north korea

    April 12, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  11. Jeff

    davehhds: Of course NASCAR isn't playing politics. Did you not read where the NRA has been a supporter of a recent past event?

    There's nothing more "Texan" than guns & stock car racing. Sorry, if you don't get it.

    April 12, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  12. Brad

    My god politicians have balls. Tell a private company that they can't have another private organization sponsor one of their events. And to pull the Newtown insensitivity card. What a pathetic joke.

    April 12, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  13. Jared

    There are all kinds of issues and sponsors I don't like. What about all the alcholoic sponsorships on the sides of the cars? Are they to blame for drunk driving deaths? Or what about all the skimpy cheerleaders shown in football? Some don't like that. Or how about all this Gay rights going on now? I don't agree with it, but I don't run around patronizing people for their views. Fact is more people who watch NASCAR are for gun rights, as to thos opposed to them. Quit this political correctness, its BS. My "assault" weapons (actually defense weapons) didn't cause Newtown, so quit blaming me. Had people like me been there with our guns, we would've rocked that scrawny punks world.

    April 12, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  14. murphmagictone

    This guy has a warped view of his own importance. Gosh this country is going to pot fast.

    April 12, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  15. ST

    There is a huge problem in the country. Mixing: politics, religion, sports, personal matters all together. What the mixture one should expect to get? Why each item can't be dealt separately?

    April 12, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  16. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    We are not in the immediate wake of the Newtown massacre. This is just more political BS. The fact is the majority of NASCAR fans are gun supporters. This is simple marketing to your audience.

    April 12, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  17. Fernando

    "Turn left. Vote Right. Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition."

    April 12, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  18. Real Smart guy

    What's wrong with these democrat senators. they have all lost it. very naïve and ignorant.

    April 12, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  19. rizzo

    Yeah the NRA is just a shell organization for the gun manufacturers, but this is a bit over the line.

    April 12, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  20. eric dybing

    He sure makes a point. He would use his elected position to prevent anything from a group he disagrees with. I would defend his right to due so with my life and my gun. He can only try to suppress us because we would die to defend his right to due so. As usual they have no idea we are his defender as reluctant as we may be. A proud member of this ratical group NRA

    April 12, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  21. bruce

    I would broadcast the race . I don't believe we need politicians telling what we can watch on TV . If you don't like racing or don't want to watch this race because of your position on the gun issue . The you decide !

    April 12, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  22. Anonymous

    It should not matter what your stance happens to be on the gun debate. Everyone should be appalled by what Sen. Murphy is sugesting. Requesting that anybody's event, speach, TV ads etc. . . be banned from airing on national television because it is counter to another person's beliefs goes against the very principle of the first amendment. Every American is born with the right to voice his or her oppinion on matters affecting the public without facing censorship even if it is only a suggestion by a senator. Senator Murphy I suggest that if you dont have the balls to face your oponent head on in the arena of public debate you should step down and let somebody with more fortitude to represent the people.

    April 12, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  23. roddack

    The solution is very simple. If you don't like it then don't watch it.

    April 12, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  24. sportsnut

    Wow, just shows how far these elected officials are willing to go (to meet there idea's) and just step all over the piece of paper that was used to found this once great country. The first want to strip the 2nd amendment, now this guy wants to step on the 1st amendment. We the people better wake up before there is nothing left of this country.

    April 12, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  25. D.J. from Vegas

    " it also features the live shooting of guns at the end of the race" So commercials showing eating food need to be addressed as well. get a life Senator

    April 12, 2013 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
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