American NASCAR driver Kyle Larson was fired from his team for using a racist slur during his participation two days earlier in a virtual race broadcast live.
On Monday, amid much controversy over Larson’s comment, the Chip Ganassi Racing team had already suspended the driver without pay, who was also removed indefinitely from the NASCAR series and lost several of his sponsors.
“After much thought, Chip Ganassi Racing has determined that it will terminate its relationship with driver Kyle Larson,” the team said in a statement Tuesday.
“As we have said before, the comments Kyle made were both offensive and unacceptable especially given the values of our organization” so ending the relationship “was the only appropriate action to take,” the team stressed.
The controversy was generated on Sunday during one of the virtual races in which NASCAR and IndyCar drivers participate from their homes, competitions suspended by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Sunday’s case it was a re-enactment of the Monza Madness test.
At one point in the race, Larson, who apparently believed he had lost communication, said while driving: ‘Can you hear me? Hey… ”(and then he gave a racist insult).
Larson, who later apologized to his teammates and the African-American community, was suspended by NASCAR and harshly criticized by two of his sponsors – Credit One Bank and McDonald’s – who ended their relationships with him.
The 27-year-old driver whose mother is of Japanese origin, had entered NASCAR through the “Drive for Diversity” program, which aims to include minorities in the competition.
Like the rest of American sports leagues and tournaments, the NASCAR series events are suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To entertain its fans, the competition has organized in recent days these virtual races with its pilots that are broadcast on the Internet. AFP