NASCAR's announcement of a race sponsored by the National Rifle Association spurred mountains of controversy, and now a Connecticut senator is doing his best to see the event never hits the airwaves.
According to a report by David Taintor of TalkingPointsMemo.com, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) sent a letter to News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch asking him not to broadcast this weekend's NRA 500, which is to be held at Texas Motor Speedway. News Corp. owns FOX, which will be broadcasting the race in prime time on Saturday night.
Here is a snapshot of Murphy's letter, per TPM:
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. This celebration of guns is inappropriate in the immediate wake of the Newtown massacre. But most importantly, broadcasting this race, which will highlight the NRA and its radical agenda during this time, sends a harmful signal to the families affected by gun violence, as well as the millions of Americans who support sensible gun control measures and enjoy your sports programming.
Murphy, of course, is referring to the tragic murder of 26 people (20 children) at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last year.
Adam Lanza, 20, reportedly first shot and killed his mother before going to Sandy Hook, opening fire with multiple weapons, before committing suicide as police arrived on the scene.
One of the biggest tragedies in modern United States history, the massacre at Sandy Hook became a lightning rod for the gun debate throughout the country. The NRA was at the center of that debate after Sandy Hook and the organization has taken a multitude of criticism due to its organizational stance of fighting against stricter gun regulations.
When NASCAR first announced the NRA-sponsored event, there were many who thought the decision was in poor taste or that the sport was taking a side in the political debate.
Among the harshest critics was Murphy, who sent a letter to NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France in March asking him to reconsider.
NASCAR decided against changing its sponsorship agreement with the NRA, and the event came under more scrutiny of late when Texas Motor Speedway decided to keep its tradition of the winner firing gun shots into the air.
The gun relation to Saturday's race doesn't stop there. Outdoor goods store Gander Mountain will be sponsoring Clint Bowyer's car at Texas, with the phrase, "With Rights Comes Responsibility; Secure Your Firearms" adorned on the paint scheme, per FOX News.
There is no word on whether FOX will continue with its plans to broadcast the race at this time. Either way, the result of this letter will likely cause even more debate about one of the United States' most divisive issues.
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