Dale Earnhardt Jr. fires back after Olbermann takes gratuitous cheap ahots


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Welcome to the media, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

As a champion NASCAR driver, Earnhardt is no stranger to feuds. But now that he’s retired and has a new career as a NASCAR analyst, Earnhardt finds himself in a new feud — one that he did nothing but appear on TV to provoke.

Earnhardt currently works as a NASCAR analyst for NBC, which is scheduled to cover multiple NASCAR Cup Series races this summer.

So, during NBC’s coverage of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Monday night, Earnhardt got some studio airtime with NBC host Mike Tirico.

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Earnhardt talked some hockey and also promoted NBC’s upcoming coverage of NASCAR, which will feature Junior in the broadcast booth.

That sort of cross-promotion is certainly nothing new. You see it all the time when networks use one event to promote another, like, for example, using the Preakness Stakes to encourage viewers to tune in to the Stanley Cup Finals.

But there was one media member in particular who took exception to NBC’s cross-promotion — ESPN’s Keith Olbermann.

“There is some kind of retired stock car or cab driver or something in the middle of NBC’s Stanley Cup Final pregame show. It’s not that NBC doesn’t take hockey seriously; it’s that it seems convinced it is necessary to make its hockey telecasts about other sports,” Olbermann tweeted Monday night.

Olbermann later said it wasn’t so much the cross-promotion that bothered him. Rather, it was the futility, in his eyes, of cross-promoting two sports that don’t share a fan base.

Were Olbermann's tweets a cheap shot?
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“It’s not just that @NBCSports has trotted out Dale Earnhardt Jr in its #StanleyCup pregame AND at the start of its 1st intermission, it’s the institutional tone deafness indicated by the belief there is any overlap between these two sports with utterly different demographics,” Olbermann tweeted.

Olbermann’s assertion was challenged by many users, though to be fair, the extent of the overlapping fan bases is not clear.

As for Earnhardt, well, one look said it all.

Turns out, Olbermann’s tweet was counter-productive. If anything, it helped promote Earnhardt and NBC’s NASCAR coverage.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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