A commercial for Nationwide Series driver Blake Koch's sponsor will not be aired on ESPN due to what the network called "advocacy messaging."
Koch is sponsored by RiseUpAndRegister.com, which aims to register 1 million new voters before the November elections. Though the TV commercial (which can be seen below the jump) doesn't mention a specific issue, RiseUpAndRegister.com links to an anti-abortion voting site called BeMyVote.com.
Citing a longstanding policy against commercials that advocate a cause, ESPN informed Koch it would not air the ad due to "political and religious overtones."
Check out the commercial for yourself here:
Koch and the sponsor were upset by ESPN's decision, and the driver discussed it on FOX News Channel's "Fox & Friends" on Thursday morning.
"I didn't think that my faith in Christ would have an impact on whether or not a sponsor could air a commercial or not," Koch told FOX News.
But in a statement to SB Nation, an ESPN spokesman said the ad was turned down due to its message -- not Koch's faith.
"The spot did not meet our guidelines in regard to advocacy messaging," ESPN's Andy Hall said. "Blake Koch's personal religious beliefs played no role in our evaluation."
FOX News played a voicemail to Koch's father from ESPN that said, "We do see the religious aspects of this" and seemed to cite religion as a reason for rejecting the ad.
"The one thing I will not do is deny my faith just because a particular sponsor might not like the way I express my faith, which I do on my own time," Koch told FOX News.
Koch, who drives for Rick Ware Racing, has raced in 40 career Nationwide events with a top finish of 14th.