The professional race car driver at the center of the viral, highly censored anti-Biden 'Let's Go Brandon' meme has finally opened up about his thoughts on the hilarious headline grabbing saga in a just published op-ed in Newsweek.
To review, NASCAR driver Brandon Brown - a self identified Republican voter - clinched his first Xfinity Series race at Talladega in October, and during his live interview with NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast, loud "F**k Joe Biden" chants could be clearly heard from the packed stadium in the background. That's when Stavast took it upon herself to censor the moment in real time, absurdly claiming before her national TV audience that they were really saying "Let's go, Brandon".
And the rest is history, with entire stadiums of fans at sports games now regularly in unison shouting Let's go Brandon... Republican political rallies erupting in the same, and rap videos topping the charts on iTunes, and with literally hundreds of viral TikTok videos taking up the #LetsGoBrandonChallenge.
Of course, the more that official platforms tried to censor it as "dangerous" and "hate speech" - the more it took off, resulting in Brandon Brown being put in the NASCAR and media spotlight. And now during the holidays, one can even buy "Let's Go Brandon" t-shirts, Christmas ornaments, stickers, and other merchandise to express how they feel about Biden. People have been fired from their jobs, or put under investigation, such as an airline pilot who dare to utter the phrase over the intercom during a flight.
"All the advice I got from those around my racing career was to stay quiet after that now-famous interview. No one knew how my sponsors would react and, in my world, there is no car to drive without the sponsors," Brandon describes in the Newsweek op-ed.
He introduced the piece with, "My name is Brandon. Brandon Brown, to be specific. Yes, that Brandon"...
I am Brandon, the NASCAR driver and unlikely meme. A 28-year-old who now finds himself in the middle of the American political conversation. As a pro driver, I never expected to be in the passenger seat of my own viral moment.
...Since that race, my name has been chanted in literally hundreds of stadiums across the country, spanning nearly every conceivable sport (and then some). I've heard my name chanted in bars, at events, in the course of everyday life and even in the chambers of Congress.
He further describes that he's turned down countless requests for press interviews precisely become he was deeply fearful of being canceled by NASCAR and his own sponsors. As he says, without sponsors - it becomes impossible to drive professionally
"So, I kept quiet. I turned down more press requests than I imagined someone could ever get—especially someone just starting his NASCAR career. I was afraid of being canceled by my sponsors, or by the media, for being caught up in something that has little to do with me," he writes.
He then explains why he's now speaking, ending his silence... he understands that this has become a rallying cry for millions of Americans suffering and struggling under government elites who "only make it worse"...
I understand that millions of people are struggling right now and are frustrated. Struggling to get by and struggling to build a solid life for themselves and their families, and wondering why their government only seems to make it worse. People have a right to frustration—even anger.
Far from denying the central importance of the "Let's go Brandon" moment, the professional driver now appears to be publicly embracing it with the op-ed, saying he's "no longer going to be silent" about the situation...
I have no interest in leading some political fight. I race cars. I am not going to endorse anyone, and I am certainly not going to tell anyone how to vote.
But I'm also no longer going to be silent about the situation I find myself in, and why millions of Americans are chanting my name. I hear them, even if Washington does not.
And yet even with him explaining his perspective in his own words, some corners of mainstream media are already trying to spin it, with for example The Hill ignoring his words in context, instead emphasizing in their misleading headline that the Driver of 'Let's Go Brandon' fame has 'zero desire to be involved in politics'
But in his own words spelled out with crystal clarity in the article he emphasizes that as he races, he'll at the same time no longer hesitate to loudly speak up about issues he's passionate about, also pledging, "To my fans, to NASCAR fans and to everyone who has chanted my name: I dedicate myself this upcoming season to compete hard on the racetrack and to spotlight issues that are important to me and to millions of Americans across the country."
Brown signs off the op-ed with... "Let's Go America."
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And now to revisit the famous post-race interview that started it all...