The Bernie Ecclestone robbery story is curious for a couple of reasons.
First, it’s always puzzled me why the major mass media pretty much ignore motorsport most of the time but get all excited when there’s negativity.
For instance, when Davey Allison was killed in a helicopter crash years ago, the Globe and Mail – which could care less about car racing – published the story on the first sports page.
As I was working there at the time, I asked the sports editor how come?
"He’s a big star in that sport," he answered.
So how come we didn’t have a story when he won the NASCAR race last weekend?
"Not that many people care about that sport," he said.
His logic escaped me.
(It’s the same when the Indy comes to town in the summertime. All the papers have three and four reporters, plus photographers, covering it. It’s a big story. Then, the next weekend, when the same drivers are racing somewhere else, there might be a brief about it in the paper – if that. I can never figure out how there can be so much interest one weekend and none the next. But I digress.)
So now we have the Bernie Ecclestone being robbed story. Bernie Ecclestone being robbed is getting more play that Sebastien Vettel winning the world championship ever got.
Okay, it’s a story. But, as usual, in looking for the forest, the media are missing seeing the tree.
First, this is not the first time Bernie Ecclestone has been roughed up in the middle of London. He and his former wife, Slavika, were accosted and robbed while walking home from a restaurant a few years ago. And then there was the time, in 2005 or ‘06, when he got out of a brand new Mercedes-Benz outside his house and was assaulted by a couple of punks who proceeded to steal two wheels from the new car. (Which is extremely weird, if you ask me.)
So the first question I would ask is: as this has happened at least twice in the past, what is Bernie Ecclestone doing out and about in central London after dark without a bodyguard?
The second question I would ask, of course, is what person in his or her right mind would be walking around central London after dark, without a bodyguard, in possession of about $300,000 worth of jewels? (Okay, much of it was being worn by his Brazilian sweetheart, Fabiana Flosi, but really, Bernie.)
I know that when you’re filthy rich, one bauble is about the same as another. But aren’t you just asking for trouble by doing that?
Bernie Ecclestone is a business genius who took Formula One from the hands of a bunch of serious enthusiasts in the 1970s and turned it into the multi-billion-dollar spectacle it is today.
But when it comes to his private life, Bernie just doesn’t seem to be all that smart.