Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. released a lengthy statement on Thursday about Kyle Larson using the n-word over the weekend during an iRacing event that was being broadcast on Twitch and was heard by anyone on the livestream.
Wallace, who is the only African-American driver in NASCAR’s top-3 series, took to Twitter and stated while he didn’t want to be involved in the controversy, he noted that there “is a part of my background and culture that feels attacked and hurt, and the other part feels confused and angry.”
“It’s NOT just a word. 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.’
On Sunday, Larson thought he lost communication over his radio and said:
“You can’t hear me? Hey, [expletive].”
The comment was immediately met with shock from other drivers.
Anthony Alfredo: “Kyle, you’re talking to everyone, bud.”
Aaron MacEachern: “Yup, we heard that.”
Conor Daly: “Yikes!”
Justin Botelho: “Oh, damn! He did not just say that.”
Larson lost sponsors and then got fired by Chip Ganassi Racing on Tuesday.
Larson apologized Monday for using the slur, saying “I made a mistake and said the word that should never, ever be said and there’s no excuse for that.”
“What Larson said was wrong, whether in private or public. There is no grey area. I saw the incident the night it happened and within 5 minutes Kyle texted me. He called me the next morning as well. Finally I called him back with a FaceTime to talk “face to face,” and we had a good conversation, his apology was sincere. His emotions and pride were shattered. We discussed why he chose to use that language and I shared my thoughts.. I told him, it was too easy for him to use the word and that he has to do better and get it out of his vocabulary. There is no place for that work in this world. I am not mad at him, and I believe that he, along with most people deserve second chances, and deserve space to improve. I do wish him and his family nothing but the best. And I am more than willing to work with him to address diversity and inclusion in our sport.”
Along with being suspended, NASCAR is also requiring that Larson participate in its sensitivity training.