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NASCAR driver Hailie Deegan apologized to “everyone who was offended by it” for saying the R-word during a Sunday night Twitch stream.
Deegan — who was streaming for the first time on her Twitch channel — was broadcasting a virtual race that she was participating in. She was talking on her microphone over caution and used the slur to ask about a driver who was behind her.
Earlier tonight I used an insensitive word during an online race being broadcast on twitch. It was inappropriate slang and a stupid thing to do. I apologize to everyone who was offended by it. There's no excuse for it, and I know I have to do better for my sponsors and my fans.
— Hailie Deegan (@HailieDeegan) January 11, 2021
You can listen to Deegan’s use of the slur below (NSFW language):
NASCAR said Monday afternoon that Deegan would have to go through sensitivity training ahead of the 2021 season.
Ford — which signed Deegan to be part of its driver development program ahead of the 2020 season — issued a statement Monday morning about her slur.
“We are aware of this inappropriate comment,” the automaker said via NBC Sports. “Hailie immediately acknowledged this mistake, has apologized and promised to be much more thoughtful in the future.”
Deegan, 19, is the daughter of motocross legend Brian Deegan and is already one of the more popular drivers in NASCAR despite making just one Truck Series start. She raced in NASCAR’s ARCA Series in 2020 and finished third in the points standings with four top-five finishes in 20 races. She’s set to run a full season in the Truck Series in 2021 as she works her way up the NASCAR ladder.
Deegan became the first woman to win a NASCAR ARCA Series race in 2018 when she won a West Series race. Deegan and Gracie Trotter — who won her first race in 2020 in the ARCA West Series — are the only women to win races at any of NASCAR’s top five levels.
Deegan’s use of the slur came less than a year after Cup Series star Kyle Larson used the N-word in a virtual race in April 2020. Larson’s racial slur got him fired from Chip Ganassi Racing, and he spent the last 32 races of the season without a ride. Larson signed with Hendrick Motorsports in the offseason and will drive for the team in the Cup Series in 2021. Larson also had to go through sensitivity training as part of the terms of his NASCAR reinstatement.
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