NASCAR driver Kyle Larson has taken a lot of heat for using a racial slur during an iRacing event that was being broadcast on Twitch over the weekend. Everyone heard Larson say the word since it was on the livestream, and it has led to him being suspended by NASCAR, and fired by Chip Ganassi Racing. Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. is the only African-American driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, and he released a lengthy statement about Larson and his use of the word.
"It's NOT just a word," Wallace said in a statement on Twitter. There is a ton of negative meaning behind the word. Doesn't matter if a person uses it in an offensive way or not. The word brings many terrible memories for people and families and brings them back to a time that WE as a community and human race have tried our hardest to get away from."
Wallace continued: "What Larson said was wrong, whether in private or public. There is no grey area. I saw the incident the night it happened and within 5 minutes Kyle texted me. He called me the next morning as well. Finally, I called him back with a FaceTime to talk 'face to face,' and we had a good conversation, his apology was sincere. His emotions and pride were shattered. We discussed why he chose to use that language and I shared my thoughts.. I told him, it was too easy for him to use the word and that he has to do better and get it out of his vocabulary. There is no place for that work in this world. I am not mad at him, and I believe that he, along with most people deserve second chances, and deserve space to improve. I do wish him and his family nothing but the best. And I am more than willing to work with him to address diversity and inclusion in our sport."
During the race on Sunday, Larson appeared to have some technical issues with his radio, and he then said, "You can't hear me?" before saying the N-word. Shortly after NASCAR suspended Larson, he took to Twitter to apologize for his actions. He said: "I just want to say I'm sorry. Last night, I made a mistake and said the word that should never ever be said. There's no excuse for that. I wasn't raised that way. It's 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."