Kyle Larson used the n-word during a racing stream Sunday night, and he was suspended yesterday by both his team and NASCAR over it. Today, Chip Ganassi Racing said that he is now fired.
Well, “fired” wasn’t the word they used but:
“After much consideration, Chip Ganassi Racing has determined that it will end its relationship with driver Kyle Larson,” read the organization’s statement. “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.”
Larson released an apology yesterday, and I’m sure Chip Ganassi Racing might have stuck with Larson except that by Monday night sponsors began bailing, including main sponsors Credit One Bank and McDonald’s.
Larson, 27, is the first driver of Japanese descent to ever win a NASCAR race. His firing quickens an exit from Chip Ganassi Racing that many assumed might happen anyway with his contract expiring after this season.
Should Larson be able to find another team, he will still have to be reinstated by NASCAR, which has suspended him indefinitely and will require sensitivity training before reinstatement, if he ever does try to come back.
In any case, Larson knows he fucked up, and he probably assumed the worst yesterday, even after the suspension.
Here’s his apology in full:
Hey, 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. 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 everybody is staying safe during these crazy times. Thank you.