Kyle Larson wants people to know that while he purposely said the n-word, he does not feel that he’s a racist.
Larson appeared “CBS This Morning” on Friday to talk about what has happened in the months since he was fired from Chip Ganassi Racing after saying the N-word during a virtual race that was broadcast on NASCAR’s website.
“I know deep down I’m not a racist,” Larson told James Brown. “I said a racist word and I can fully understand why people would label me a racist.”
Larson was participating in an iRacing match-up with 61 other racers when he used the n-word while speaking on his headset.
Asked why Larson used the racial slur when speaking to his spotter, the driver said he had raced with that friend in Australia and their group had “used the word casually, as a greeting.”
“I didn’t use it in a way to, you know, degrade or you know, insult anyone,” Larson continued. “I know it’s not my word to use. So, you know, I need to get it out of my vocabulary, and I have.”
“I guess I didn’t think of how it took African Americans, probably in their thoughts, took them back to, you know, slavery and things like that and injustice and stuff that they have had to work, you know, so hard to overcome,” he told Brown in the interview.
Looking forward, the driver said in the CBS interview he hopes to have the chance to race again, though he “would fully understand” if he’s not welcomed back.
“What I said was extremely hurtful … but I hope I will get that opportunity to race with them, with that platform I think I could, you know, do some good things,” he said.