Kyle Larson has been officially reinstated by NASCAR after using a racial slur in a virtual race on Twitch in April. The driver was fired by the Chip Ganassi Racing team and also lost all his sponsors, according to a report from TMZ.
Larson was heard by thousands of people that were streaming the event at the time. He claimed he was unaware that his microphone was on. The racing organization immediately suspended him indefinitely until it could figure out how to handle the situation properly. According to NASCAR, Larson was quick to apologize for his actions on social media after his suspension. He also explained the situation in an interview a few months afterward.
"I was just ignorant. And immature. I didn't understand the negativity and hurt that comes with that word," the 28-year-old stated.
The league revealed that Larson will be able to return to the track on January 1, 2021 and has also put multiple conditions in place that he must follow in order to compete. For example, he is required to participate in numerous speaking engagements for the next two years. Additionally, he must provide coaching and mentorship for the Urban Youth Racing School in Philadelphia. Larson has agreed to all the terms needed for him to come back.
It can be assumed that Larson is genuinely apologetic about the incident, as he took several steps after it happened to further educate himself on racial injustice experienced in America. He even hired a personal diversity coach, Doug Harris, to help educate him. Also, he has made an effort to reach out to Black racers to learn from their personal experiences. Such people include Bubba Wallace, J.R. Todd, and Willy T. Ribbs.
"Apologizing for your mistakes matters. Accountability matters. Forgiveness matters. Treating others with respect matters. I will not stop listening and learning, but for me now, it's about action — doing the right things, being a part of the solution and writing a new chapter that my children will be proud to read," he wrote in a personal essay that he shared on his website regarding what he hoped to teach others.
Last week, Larson made an appearance on CBS This Morning to express his regret about what happened. He was also adamant that he was not a racist.
Although he currently does not have a team to compete for, many NASCAR fans believe he will be picked up shortly, as he is an exceptional driver. He currently has six victories throughout 223 Cup Series starts.