NASCAR star Kyle Larson issued an apology on Monday after being suspended “indefinitely” without pay after he using the N-word on a livestream of a virtual race Sunday night. As on-track events have been suspended due the coronavirus epidemic, Larson was competing in an esports iRacing event when he started having technical problems with his headset. When he went to check his microphone, he reportedly said: “You can’t hear me?” That question was then followed by the N-word. Other drivers in the chat reacted to Larson’s use of the slur, with one instantly telling him: “Kyle, you’re talking to everyone, bud.” On Monday morning, he was suspended without pay by his team, Chip Ganassi Racing, and by NASCAR, which said in statement that it “has made diversity and inclusion a priority and will not tolerate the type of language used by Kyle Larson during Sunday’s iRacing event.”
“Last night I made a mistake and said the word that should never, ever be said and there’s no excuse for that,” Larson said in a video posted to Twitter. “I understand the damage is probably irreparable and I own up to that.”
Larson is the second NASCAR driver in a week to draw criticism for his online conduct during an online race—Bubba Wallace rage quit an official NASCAR iRacing event televised live nationally and his sponsor fired him immediately. Larson hasn’t commented on his use of the slur.