SPARTANBURG – Dale Earnhardt Jr. knows what's like to have cameras in his face after a tough loss. He also knows what it's like to be on camera as an analyst.
That makes the wildly popular racing driver-turned-broadcaster uniquely qualified to impart some wisdom on the Carolina Panthers, which is what he did Wednesday as the players gathered for a team meeting at training camp.
Earnhardt was joined by Lindsay Czarniak, who is currently a host for Fox Sports, and they talked about social media, handling controversy, brand-building and media relations.
Earnhardt admitted to the team that his perspective has changed over time. He used to get frustrated by the media obligations. He struggled to see the value. Now, especially in his new role, it all makes a lot more sense to him.
"I want them to have a great experience," Earnhardt said after speaking to the players. "You want athletes to win and have great careers, but you also want them to understand how simple and easy it is to navigate the media. If they just put it in a little effort, it can really change things.
"Everyone is going to watch how you handle losing. They are going to watch how you handle winning. But the media is not this scary group of people that's out to get you. If you are willing to work with them a little bit, they are just trying to share who you are."
Earnhardt called on tight end Greg Olsen to share how his experience in the broadcast booth may or may not have altered his perspective.
Quarterback Cam Newton talked about social media and the handling of viral moments like his flight home from Paris this offseason.
Earnhardt took a few questions ranging from NASCAR superstitions to his key to success.
And while he acknowledged his love for the Washington Redskins, it's clear he's got a soft spot for Charlotte and the Panthers.