Tate still driving discussion on athleticism

Golden Tate's tweet questioning professional race drivers as true athletes continues to drive discussion.

TateTateIt's a sensitive subject in the racing world, as Tate quickly discovered.

"I honestly think every single person who follows NASCAR tweeted something at me, and they weren't too happy about it," Tate told ESPN.com's David Newton for a Thursday piece that had attracted more than 1,800 comments by Friday morning.

Tate's views are evolving.

Newton pointed to a recent ESPN Sports Science piece showing driver Carl Edwards' lung capacity as being 65.7 millileters per kilogram. What does that mean? The reading I've done on the subject suggests such levels vary significantly among athletes, even among those in the same sport, and that they say more about potential than about predicting performance.

"In a treadmill test of two young men –- one of whom is an athlete and the other is not -– the athletic male generally has a VO2 max value of between 70 and 85 millileters of oxygen per kilogram per minute, as compared to 45 in the sedentary male," according to a doctor cited in a Mayo Clinic blog entry.

Newton quoted Andy Papathanassiou, a former Stanford football player now overseeing conditioning for Hendrick Motorsports pit crews, as saying drivers' heart rates hit 80 percent of their maximum levels and that G-forces associated with driving would render them unconscious if they didn't know how to breathe correctly under the conditions.

"Because you don't see the blood, sweat and tears in a driver because he's wearing a firesuit and a helmet and you see only the outside of the car, you don't see or experience what a human being is going through on the inside of that," Papathanassiou told Newton.

As for Tate?

"I have no room to criticize anyone who is dominant at their profession, especially with me not being dominant in mine or accomplishing what I plan to yet," he told Newton.

There's a statement we can all agree upon.