Kyle Busch didn't rape or murder anyone. Nor did he molest children or rob someone at gunpoint. He didn't fail a drug test or get caught drunk driving.
But based on the reaction to his intentional crash of Ron Hornaday Jr. at Texas, you would have thought Busch was right up there with Jerry Sandusky.
Grab your torches and pitchforks! Burn him at the stake!
Now, even Busch's sponsor M&M's has joined in adding to the hysterics. Mars, which owns M&M's, pulled its sponsorship of Busch for the final two races of the season while at the same time saying it would return as his sponsor next year.
I could understand Mars cutting ties with Busch for the rest of the year if the company wanted to end its relationship with the driver permanently. But trying to send a message to Busch, who already paid for his lapse in judgment by getting parked at Texas, amounts to public humiliation.
What Busch did was bad, no doubt. Not this bad, though.
This can be a difficult thing to say, but I feel sorry for Busch. Mars is clearly not a good fit for his hard-edged personality, yet he's stuck trying to sell candy to kids and families while he should be sponsored by a company that embraces everything about the driver – warts and all.
When Tony Stewart drove for The Home Depot, it often seemed he had the company's unwavering support. And Kevin Harvick seems like he can do no wrong in Budweiser's eyes.
Busch and Mars, though, is like trying to fit a square peg in an M&M's-shaped hole.
I don't agree whatsoever with what Busch did to Hornaday at Texas. But at the same time, what did he do that was so much more outrageous than other drivers' retaliatory actions over the last two seasons?
Even Brad Keselowski said there was no difference between Busch intentionally crashing Hornaday and Carl Edwards flipping Keselowski at Atlanta.
Being the lightning rod he is, Busch was penalized in part for his past history. NASCAR felt Busch's actions were particularly blatant, and so officials issued a weekend suspension.
That's fine. I have no problem with that.
But the NASCAR punishment should have been enough and sent the message to Busch that further actions were unacceptable.
Instead, it seems everyone – including Busch's sponsors – just keep piling on.
And of course, Busch has no choice but to listen. He has to make it work at Joe Gibbs Racing because he's already burned nearly every other bridge to a competitive team.
Hendrick Motorsports? Been there, done that.
Roush Fenway Racing? No way Jack Roush would hire a Busch brother.
Richard Childress Racing? That team's owner has already tried to kick Busch's ass.
Penske Racing? One Busch brother is probably enough.
So aside from perhaps second-tier teams like Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing, where could Busch go? Stewart-Haas? Start his own Cup team?
Busch will come into the media center today and apologize and say all the right things and pledge to change. He has to. There are no other options, because that's what M&M's wants.
The chocolate company, it seems, wants to Busch to introduce its newest flavor: Vanilla.