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Opinion: NASCAR should have suspended Hailee Deegan for derogatory remarks

Should NASCAR suspend Hailee Deegan after her comments?
Should NASCAR suspend Hailee Deegan after her comments?
Modified 12 Jan 2021, 13:52 IST

Gander Mountain outdoor truck series driver, Hailee Deegan has apologized for using an inappropriate word during one of her Twitch livestreams. NASCAR has already ordered her to undergo sensitivity training for the incident. But it dosen't seem like a punishment at all.

Deegan used a slang to describe someone with a learning disability, on her Twitch stream. Her comments were in response to a driver behind that wrecked the young starlet during the opening stages of the virtual race. She appeared to utter the phrase in frustration, but it still wasn't a good look for someone looking to make a splash in the sport.

"Earlier tonight I used an insensitive word during an online race being broadcast on twitch," Hailee Deegan said of her remarks on the livestream . "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."

NASCAR banned Kyle Larson for an insensitive remark

Last year, the Cup Series driver Kyle Larson lost his ride at Chip Ganassi Racing after uttering a racially insensitive line during his own livestream. While Larson didn't know his microphone was on when he said the remark, NASCAR still banned him and sentenced the young driver to sensitive training.

Larson's story did end in redemption after being reinstated by NASCAR and signing a contract with Hendrick Motorsports, but it was still a dark period in his career. As for Deegan, she is basically getting off with a slap on the wrist.

The worst part, though, is that she deserves to have more action taken against her. Not only is that evident by NASCAR's desire to remain inclusive to all audiences, but also due to the precedent set by Larson last year. If nothing else, NASCAR not at least suspending Deegan is proof of favoritism and a slap in the face of the special needs community.

Think about it! Kyle Larson gets banned for an entire season for using a racially charged word, but Hailee Deegan can't even serve a short suspension? NASCAR has made it clear how they feel about diversity in the sport, and Deegan's actions are not in line with the organization's image.

That's why the treatment towards Hailee Deegan is just a double standard. Of course, a suspension this will take away her chance to hit the ground running in her first season at DGR-Crosley. But it's still important for the sport to be consistent with their decisions.

Hailee Deegan doesn't deserve an outright ban or the loss of major sponsorships, but a temporary suspension. This will send out a message to her that she's not untouchable. If NASCAR does that, it will keep in line with its previously-stated philosophy. If not, then the sport is only showing favoritism towards Deegan.

Published 12 Jan 2021, 13:52 IST
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