When I was in high school in the 1950s, the teenage daughter of one of our teachers got pregnant.
You can imagine the gossip and the snickering that went on in the halls about Mr. So and So and how could that happen, etc.
My father, the late J.A. (Al) McDonald, set me straight one night at the dinner table.
“She’s the one who’s pregnant,” he said. “It’s not his fault.”
He was right, as usual, and I thought of his words on Thursday when the news broke that two 35-year-old men whose last names happen to be Penske had been arrested on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts and charged with breaking and entering and whatever else after two women complained to police that one of the men had urinated on them.
The initial stories, accompanied by the usual anonymous Internet commenting, seemed to think that this reflected badly on Roger Penske. In fact, more than one story had a second sentence that contained these words:
"Jay and Mark Penske are the sons of Roger Penske, owner of Penske Racing and the Penske Corp."
And I read them and thought, “it’s not his fault? What does this have to do with him?”
I’m sure that Roger Penske is very disappointed with their behaviour. But those two guys aren’t kids — they’re in their 30s and businessmen on their own. What they do or don’t do is their responsibility and if that involves getting themselves in trouble, then they’ll have to carry their own crosses.
There is nothing on the IZOD IndyCar Series website about this, which is curious. Jay Penske is a team owner in that series and has been placed under arrest and charged with a crime. That is not something you can sweep under the rug.
What effect this will have on Dragon Racing, Jay Penske’s IndyCar team that employs Katherine Legge and Sebastien Bourdais, is the question.
When A.J. Allmendinger failed his NASCAR drug test, which was reported on NASCAR.com, by the way, the focus of much of the analysis and conversation was how his team’s sponsors would react. The consensus was that Allmendinger had broken a trust and it would take time to repair the damage.
I suggest Jay Penske will be under the same scrutiny.