NASCAR’s Kyle Larson fired after casually saying n-word during virtual racing event

Kyle Larson
Kyle Larson
NASCAR driver Kyle Larson must have thought Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach‘s noose “joke” was too ambiguous and figured he could do better.

Larson, one of the sport’s top stars, was participating in an iRacing event, a series of live online virtual races that NASCAR has organized to keep fans engaged after coronavirus put an end to the season, when he just casually spat out the N-word over an open mic.

In the iRacing event Sunday night, Larson appeared to lose communication on his headset with his spotter. During a check of his microphone, he asked his spotter, “I can’t see it. You can’t hear me? Hey n—-r.” The slur was directed at his spotter, who is white.

Larson posted an apology video on Twitter, but it was too little too late.

“I made a mistake, said the word that should never, ever be said,” Larson said. “There is no excuse for that. I wasn’t raised that way. It is just an awful thing to say. I feel very sorry for my family, my friends, my partners, the NASCAR community and especially the African American community.
“I understand the damage is probably unrepairable and I own up to that. But I just want to let you all know how sorry I am and I hope everyone is staying safe during these crazy times.”

His team team, Chip Ganassi Racing, moved quickly, announcing they had suspended Larson without pay, and possibly hoping that would quill growing anger. “We are extremely disappointed by what Kyle said last night during an iRacing Event. The words that he chose to use are offensive and unacceptable. As of this moment we are suspending Kyle without pay while we work through this situation with all appropriate parties.”

By Monday sponsors, including McDonald’s, withdrew their support and NASCAR had decided to suspended Larson indefinitely and ordered he attend sensitivity training.

Today Chip Ganassi Racing took additional steps to distance itself from the situation, announcing it had fired Larson.

“After much consideration, Chip Ganassi Racing has determined that it will end its relationship with driver Kyle Larson. As we said before, the comments that Kyle made were both offensive and unacceptable especially given the values of our organization. As we continued to evaluate the situation with all the relevant parties, it became obvious that this was the only appropriate course of action to take.”

Social media wasn’t on Larson’s side, and welcomed the firing.

NASCAR been trying for years to escape its redneck image. This latest incident won’t help.

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