UPDATE: Tuesday, April 26, 2022 at 2:40 PM ET:
Following an insensitive tweet from Denny Hamlin, which he has since deleted and apologized for on Twitter, the driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing FedEx Toyota has been informed by NASCAR that he must complete sensitivity training and start the process by the end of this week.
Denny Hamlin took to Twitter on Monday evening to apologize for a tweet that he had fired off earlier in the day, which was seen as offensive by many on the social media platform.
In Hamlin’s apology, he stated about the now-deleted Tweet, “It was a poor choice of memes and I saw how it was offensive.”
I took down a post I made earlier today after reading some of the comments. It was a poor choice of memes and I saw how it was offensive. It came across totally wrong. I apologize.
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) April 26, 2022
The initial tweet was a video clip from the cartoon “Family Guy” of a female Asian driver. In the video, Larson’s name was placed over the cartoon driver. As the driver in the clip makes a swerving motion, the video swaps to a clip of Larson making a move on the final lap of Talladega, which led to both of the 23XI Racing cars crashing coming to the finish line.
Hamlin’s apology eludes that he did not intend on making fun of Larson’s race (Larson’s mother is a Japanese-American) in the initial Tweet.
While it may have been a total coincidence that Hamlin chose a video of a cartoon Asian female, this should serve as a reminder to everyone to think about and maybe review every tweet before you decide to send it out to the public, especially when you’re a public figure like Hamlin.
Hamlin’s Tweet led to plenty of outrage on social media on Monday, and even led to Rob Tiongson of the Podium Finish penning an op-ed on the situation.
Attempts to obtain a statement from Joe Gibbs Racing and/or Denny Hamlin on the deleted tweet have gone unanswered at the time of this posting, but per the NASCAR rule book, this tweet very well could result in a penalty from NASCAR under sections 4.3.e and 4.4.e of the rulebook, which prohibit NASCAR Members from making statements or communication that criticizes or ridicules another person based on their race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age or handicapping condition.