NASCAR has announced in a statement that Kyle Larson has been suspended, shortly after the driver used racial slurs during an iRacing live stream on Twitch. With the ongoing situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic, most forms of traditional sports have been canceled. This has led many of the governing leagues to transition to the online form of their tournaments, NASCAR included.
Suspension from NASCAR
NASCAR wrote in a statement:
NASCAR has made diversity and inclusion a priority and will not tolerate the type of language used by Kyle Larson during Sunday’s iRacing event. Our Member Conduct Guidelines are clear in this regard, and we will enforce these guidelines to maintain an inclusive environment for our entire industry and fan base.
Kyle Larson was participating in an unofficial race rather than NASCAR’s Pro Invitational Series. During the virtual race, he thought he had lost communication with his racing team. This is when he used the racial slur.
However, Larson was unaware that what he was saying could be heard by other drivers and all of the viewers as well. This was because all of the content was broadcast from the auto racing organization’s official channel.
Traditional sports to esports
Shortly after NASCAR’s announcement, Larson posted his own apology video:
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.
Video clips of the racial slurs quickly surfaced on social media. This led to Larson’s suspension.
Larson boasts a large fanbase, partly due to him being half-Japanese. He most recently took home first place at the Chili Bowl in January. This news also comes one week after fellow race driver Bubba Wallace was fired by his sponsor after rage quitting an iRacing event.