Does Off-Track Behaviour Matter?

Today's racing news cycle is being dominated by the Max Mosley scandal, which, except in some comment-on-management way, has absolutely nothing to do with racing. There are more than a few racers out there who, despite their racing glory, have bad attitudes. Most wouldn't want to end up on the wrong side of an argument with A.J. Foyt. On the other hand, any sane racing fan would love to end up on the right side of a car with Foyt. What about reversing that? Dale Earnhardt Jr. is clearly a capable driver and, because he seems like a nice guy, NASCAR's most popular driver five years in a row. But who cares?

Racing is about passion and competition and, in that sense, should we be surprised that lots of those involved are passionate and competitive? Absolutely not. We should just accept that as part of them being human. Would A.J. Foyt be as good a racer if he didn't have that strong personality?

But this thing with Mosley is different. There are simply things one can't do and still be held up as the figurehead of an organization that represents such a diverse group of participants and fans. It's no one's business what business leaders or athletes do in their personal life and, usually, we're better off not knowing. But with Mosley we do know. This goes beyond deviancy and personal failings. If that truly is Mosley in the video, and no one is saying it isn't, then we have to face the fact that this is an individual with a personal set of beliefs so heinous and out-of-touch with what the rest of what society believes that to keep him in his position is to tacitly support those beliefs, to say that it's acceptable.

But that's us. Does off-track behaviour matter? Why does it matter? How does it matter?