Racecar driver Conor Daly lost his sponsorship deal with Lilly Diabetes on the eve of his NASCAR debut Saturday after his father recently admitted using a racial slur in an interview over 30 years earlier.
“Our sponsorship in Saturday’s race is intended to raise awareness of treatment options and resources for people living with diabetes. Unfortunately, the comments that surfaced this week by Derek Daly distract from this focus, so we have made the decision that Lilly Diabetes will no longer run the No. 6 at Road America this weekend,” Lilly Diabetes said in a statement.
“We remain committed to our mission of supporting people with diabetes,” the statement said.
Reports emerged earlier in the week that the elder Daly, a 65-year-old former racing driver born in Ireland, used the N-word during a live radio interview conducted during the early 1980s, years before the birth of his son in 1991. He was subsequently fired from WISH-TV, an Indianapolis-based television station where he had worked as freelance racing analyst, prior to issuing a statement Friday acknowledging his use of the slur and apologizing for his language.
“When I used that phrase in the early 80’s, I had no idea that in this country that phrase had a horribly different meaning and connotation, as it was commonplace in Ireland,” he said in the statement. “After moving to the United States, I quickly learned what a derogatory term it was. When I was first informed of this, I was mortified at the offense I might have caused people. I have therefore never used the word since. I made this mistake once, but never again.”
The younger Daly issued a statement of his own Friday evening thanking Lilly for its support.
“The last 24hrs have been quite an unnecessarily difficult ride for my family. There is A LOT I want to say… but I’m still here and still racing,” he said on Twitter. “@LillyDiabetes has been a big part of my career and Im very thankful,” the 26-year-old driver tweeted.
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