NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, the only African American on the top circuit of that racing sector, believes fellow driver Kyle Larson should be forgiven for uttering a racial slur in an online competition.
Wallace issued a statement Friday saying Larson should get a second chance. Larson was fired from his racing team after the incident last weekend, which occurred during an iRacing event that NASCAR drivers are playing during the pandemic lockdown.
During the competition, Larson thought he had lost communication with is spotter. He did a mic check and said, “You can’t hear me?” That was followed by the N-word. The slur was directed at his white spotter. Other drivers heard the remark, though, and reacted.
Wallace said Larson immediately contacted him and then the two had a Facetime session in which Larson apologized.
“What Larson said was wrong, whether in private or public,” Wallace said in a statement. “There is no gray area.”
But Larson’s apology was deemed “sincere,” and Wallace said “that he has to do better and get it out of his vocabulary.”
“It’s not just a word,’ Wallace said. “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.”
Larson has also issued his own public apology.
“I wasn’t raised that way, and it’s just an awful thing to say,” he said. “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. I just want to let you all know how sorry I am and I hope everybody is staying safe during these crazy times.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.