2020 will undoubtedly remain one of the craziest years in the history of sport. Sports leagues around the world have shut down for months as they attempt to navigate the unknown waters of a global pandemic. Additionally, the leagues in the United States had an entirely different set of challenges, addressing social justice issues as protests spread across the country after the death of George Floyd. According to the Sports Business Journal’s annual awards, NASCAR did its best and was recognized for its efforts by being named Sports League of the Year.

NASCAR named Sports League of the Year

The Sports Business Journal annually awards leagues, teams and individuals in a variety of categories, including the best sports leader, the best team and the best social media. This year, NASCAR received the title of Sports League of the Year.

“In the midst of NASCAR’s return to racing in the 20’s, the sport has innovated in more ways than it has ever had before while simultaneously navigating multiple interactions with America’s social justice calculus,” noted the post. The sport has publicly supported rider Bubba Wallace when he wore an ‘I can’t breathe’ shirt before a race, when he performed a Black Lives Matter paint scheme in another race, and when he was involved in the high-profile Noose incident at Talladega’s Superspeedway.

“We have momentum. More importantly, we have relevance, ”NASCAR President Steve Phelps said of accepting the award. Phelps said that in addition to NASCAR leading the nation in a return to live sport, the aftermath of George Floyd’s death has allowed the league to define who it is and “created a whole new face of NASCAR, a younger and more diverse face “.

The award was NASCAR’s first win in the category after four nominations.

NASCAR leads the way with help from Bubba Wallace

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace wears an “I Can’t Breathe – Black Lives Matter” t-shirt in solidarity with protesters around the world who take to the streets after George Floyd’s death and stand next to his painted car. “#Black Lives Matter” before the NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. | Photo by Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images

After George Floyd’s death, Bubba Wallace, the only black driver in the Cup Series, became the unofficial voice of NASCAR and made numerous appearances on national television shows.

During an appearance on CNN, Wallace suggested removing Confederate flags from races. Days later, NASCAR announced that all Confederate flags and associated memorabilia would not be allowed at racing venues.

It was one of the biggest movements of an organization that has been stereotypically seen as a spectacle sport for whites. In addition to banning the flag, NASCAR has made a concerted effort to educate within the organization and start a real conversation on social justice issues with the participation of all stakeholders, including drivers.

Other winners include NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

In addition to NASCAR’s victory in top sports league, NBA commissioner Adam Silver won the title of athletic director of the year for his efforts to save the 2020 NBA season and restart in the bubble of ‘Orlando while addressing social justice issues.

ESPN Wide World of Sports, which hosted the NBA Bubble and the MLS is Back Tournament, received the honors as the Sports Facility of the Year.

The LA Dodgers were named Sports Team of the Year after winning their first World Series since 1988. ESPN took top sports media honors and the National Women’s Soccer League was named Sports Breakthrough of the Year.

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