With no live SPROTS on offer outside of the random Belarus Premier League fixture, eNASCAR is currently America’s biggest sport via iRacing software and Twitch streams. So it was only a matter of time before a NASCAR driver got caught in a controversy for being racist on stream.
While racing on one of the handful of random Twitch streams featuring NASCAR drivers these days, Kyle Larson casually dropped the ‘hard r’ while testing to see if the other drivers could hear him.
Unfortunately for Kyle, everyone could hear him and now he has been shitcanned by everyone who once paid him to drive. Chip Ganassi Racing fired him from their team and all of his sponsors did the same in a quick response to distance themselves from an ugly scandal.
In addition to Larson’s sponsors letting him go, NASCAR made the move to suspend Larson indefinitely. A wise decision as Larson’s racist remark is directly impacting the sport’s opportunity to cash in on the iRacing fad in the absence of live sports at the moment.
Statement from Credit One Bank regarding sponsorship of Kyle Larson. pic.twitter.com/SscEVpoz1z— Credit One Bank (@CreditOneBank) April 13, 2020
Of course Larson has his defenders, a group of Twitter trolls and reverse racism losers along with the worst demographic of NASCAR fans to attempt to defend his embarrassing display. For example, the replies of Credit One Bank’s tweet announcing the termination of their sponsorship.
And my support for your company is now TERMINATED!!! Shame on you!!!!!— Karen Burba (@KarenBurba) April 13, 2020
I held up NASCAR as a shining example of an organization that gives second chances.— Preston Hamill (@CardGameNut) April 13, 2020
I guess you don't believe in that.
Thanks for letting us know where you stand. Take your sponsorship elsewhere, and be sure to find someone perfect this time.
I really hope @CreditOneBank doesn’t have any employees who listen to certain songs in their own home or even while working.— 👸🏼 Whitney Nicole (@tiffanyco85) April 13, 2020
Kyle Larson will certainly get a second chance in NASCAR once live racing returns and the segment of fans who quickly defended his ugly language will champion his return. If fans are already defending him online less than 48 hours after the incident, Larson is guaranteed come back to some level of fanfare and support.
But when Larson does come back, his relationship with sponsors and the people trying desperately to try to market NASCAR to a younger, different demographic will be severely damaged. It is hard to think of a worse story for NASCAR in the middle of its moment back in the national attention than an online gaming racism scandal on a Twitch stream and it will be a long time before Kyle Larson can repair the damage he caused by casually dropping the hard r.