Asian American NASCAR driver Kyle Larson has revealed he is not offended by the stereotypical Asian meme that fellow racing driver Denny Hamlin tweeted last week.
Speaking to Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports at Dover Motor Speedway on SaturdayLarson, a 29 year old runner under the Hendrick Motorsports team, said he was not “personally offended” by his friend’s tweet.
“I wasn’t personally offended by it…but I know, and I think he knows now, that there are millions of other people a tweet like this could offend,” Larson, whose the mother is American-Japanese, Told Pockras. “No hard feelings on my part. But I think after you post something you realize how offensive it can be.”
Earlier in the interview, Larson said what happened was “bad judgement” on Hamlin’s part, further explaining that “being in the position we’re in, you have to be very careful about what you broadcast to the public”.
“I know he’s going to learn a lot here over the next few weeks, and I think we’re all ready to move on and focus on the race,” he added.
Hamlin, 41, sparked controversy after sharing a clip on April 25 with a scene from an episode “Family Guy” that depicts an Asian woman driving recklessly. He reportedly posted the meme to shed some light on the incident Larson caused at Talladega Superspeedway on April 24.
During the Geico 500 race, Larson cut sharply outward, causing Kurt Busch and Bubba Wallace to crash — both members of 23XI Racing, a NASCAR team Hamlin co-owns.
Hamlin eventually took down his tweet and apologized. NASCAR also stepped in and ordered the race car driver to undergo sensitivity training, much like what he did to Larson in October 2020 when he was caught saying the “n word”.
Speaking to Pockrass, Hamlin said he respects NASCAR’s decision.
“someone gave [the meme] for me and thought that was hilarious. But it’s also insensitive”, Hamlin Told Pockras. “I really understand how some people might find this offensive. And if it’s one, then it’s one too many.”
Characteristic image via @bobpockrass
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