Bubba Wallace: Kyle Larson Deserves 2nd Chance After Using Racial Slur on Twitch

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2020

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 12: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 United States Air Force Chevrolet, speaks with the media during the NASCAR Cup Series 62nd Annual Daytona 500 Media Day at Daytona International Speedway on February 12, 2020 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace offered his first public comment Thursday after fellow driver Kyle Larson used the N-word during a iRacing event over the weekend. 

"What Larson said was wrong, whether in private or public," Wallace wrote. "There is no grey area."

He went on to say Larson reached out to him the night of the incident and that they had a "good conversation."

"There is no place for that word in this world," Wallace said. "I am not mad at him, and I believe he, along with most people deserve second chances, and deserve space to improve."

Larson was apparently attempting to determine whether the other drivers could hear him when he said, "Hey n----r" into his headset.

The fallout was swift.

NASCAR announced Monday that Larson is suspended indefinitely, and multiple sponsors dropped the 27-year-old. Chip Ganassi Racing announced Tuesday it was severing its partnership with Larson as well.

He addressed the situation Monday and apologized:

Wallace lost a sponsor earlier in the month when he "rage-quit" an iRacing event after getting wrecked by Clint Bowyer.

With the 2020 campaign on hold, NASCAR partnered with iRacing to launch the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series as a way to simulate traditional race days.

While Wallace showed support for Larson in terms of continuing his racing career, NASCAR Talk's Nate Ryan questioned whether he'll face a long road in order to return to the NASCAR Cup Series.

"The image rehabilitation will need to go well past his genuine contrition Monday," Ryan wrote. "He will need to demonstrate a real understanding of the black community and its history of civil rights struggles."

Larson debuted on the circuit in 2013 and made the full-time jump in 2014. He has six victories in 223 appearances, and his sixth-place finish in 2019 was the best of his career.

Should racing resume this year, Chip Ganassi Racing hasn't officially announced a replacement for Larson.

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