On Sunday, Kyle Larson took the latest step in his potential return to NASCAR when he published a lengthy open letter on his website titled, “Kyle Larson: My Lessons Learned.”
In the piece, Larson admits his atrocious fault when he uttered a racial slur during an iRacing event back in April and he details the things he has done in the time since to heal his own actions and better the lives of those who were affected by his poor choice of words.
Larson spoke of his recent time at the Urban Youth Racing School, and he disclosed what he told the students about his unfortunate decision in April.
“On the night of Sunday, April 12, 2020, when the sports world was stopped because of the pandemic, I said the N-word over a microphone before an online race,” Larson explained. “Did I know the whole world could hear me in that moment? No, I did not – I thought it was a private channel. So when I tell people that I wasn’t in the habit of saying the word and they roll their eyes in response, I don’t blame them. I get it.”
Larson has become a mentor of the kids in that racing school in the months since his NASCAR suspension.
In the story, Larson then goes on to talk about hiring his own diversity coach, Doug Harris and a food drive that he participated in following the George Floyd death.
Larson has also spoken to Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee and other prominent black athletes about his ignorant choice of word back in April. He says that he has experienced disappointment in his actions through the conversations from others, but that each person he has spoken to or gotten involved with have become emotionally invested in helping Larson grow empathy.
He closes his writing with:
For far too long, I was a part of a problem that’s much larger than me. I fully admit that losing my job and being publicly humiliated was how I came to understand this. But in the aftermath, I realized that my young kids will one day be old enough to learn about what their daddy said. I can’t go back and change it, but I can control what happens from here on out.
I want them to know that words do matter. 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.
People have taught me a lot over the last five months. The next time I’m in a classroom, I hope I can repay their kindness by sharing my story so others can learn from my mistakes. Making it a story I’m proud to tell is completely up to me.
This is a powerful piece of writing from Larson, and it definitely gives insight into how hard he has attempted since April to right the wrongs of uttering a word that should never be uttered. Larson has let his intentions be known that he would love to return to the NASCAR Cup Series someday if the planets aligned for him to do so, but up until this piece of writing, I don’t know if there was a full-on case for why NASCAR would reinstate him.
However, after reading this piece from Larson, it feels like it’s time for Larson to get his second chance.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.