NASCAR Driver Loses Sponsorship Over His Dad’s Words

Lilly Diabetes dropped Conor Daly for a remark his dad made before Conor was born!

In an era where every statement a person has ever made can come back to haunt him or her, it shouldnt be a surprise to hear of another athlete losing sponsorship over an errant comment somewhere in the past.

But to hear about a sponsor dropping someone over what his or her parents said? That sounds ridiculous, right? Well, it happened.

Lilly Diabetes has cancelled its sponsorship of NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie driver Conor Daly for a race this past weekend over a comment his father Derek made in the early 80s. Conor is 26 years old, but he lost a sponsorship over something his dad had to say over 30 years ago. Let that sink in.

> 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 said.

Derek Daly, himself a former race car driver, lost a freelance analyst gig as well. In a statement, he said:

> In the early 80s, after I had recently relocated to the United States, I was interviewed by radio reporter Larry Henry and I was asked about my situation with my new American team. I responded by explaining that I was a foreign driver now in America, driving for an American team, with an American crew, and with an American sponsor and that if things did not go well, the only n in the wood pile would be me. At the time, I meant that I, as the new foreigner on the team, would shoulder the blame and I would be the scapegoat. This was not in any way shape or form meant to be a racial slur. This phrase was commonly used in Ireland, Britain, and Australia.

> When I used that phrase in the early 80s, I had no idea that in this country that phrase had a horribly different meaning and connotation, as it was commonplace in Ireland.

For his part, Conor reacted to the news with an impressive amount of grace.

But no matter how Conor Daly reacted to the news, it shouldnt have happened. Its bad enough that theres so little forgiveness for ones own past statements, but for a young driver like Conor to have to deal with the fallout of his dads comments is uncalled for.

In a perfect world, Lilly Diabetes would realize the error of their ways and apologize. And in that same utopia, something like this would never happen again. But I fear that Lilly has opened a Pandoras box in which generation after generation of insensitive and inflammatory comments will make it more difficult for people to do their job well. And thats a shame.

(Image of Conor Daly racing in the 2017 Indy 500 courtesy of [NaBUru38](https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:NaBUru38 "User:NaBUru38")/Wikimedia Commons)

Comments
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tgbell
tgbell

My late grandmother was a European immigrant who arrived in this country as a teenager in the early 1900s, learned English as a second language, and spoke with a thick accent. I was never aware of her exhibiting any trace of racism -- she seemed to consider all people totally equal -- but she used language that would now be considered racist, because that is the language she learned from those around her when she first arrived here.

To focus on the words rather than the underlying ideas is just silly. Blaming a son for the words of his father is even sillier.

kanthonyb
kanthonyb

So, I'm assuming that anyone who ever uttered the words "Cracker", "Honkey" or "Whitey" will now summarily be removed from whatever job they now hold, even if it was one of their parents who used the slurs. No? What am I missing here?

MAlanD
MAlanD

(CAUTION: SARCASM ALERT!)

I think we should go back to the dawn of time. If anyone in our ancestral tree ever uttered a politically incorrect word or phrase we should be stripped of our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. No exceptions. Except for those on the extreme political left.

AJ_Liberty
AJ_Liberty

Again...the keys should be intent and currency....and that the prime individual should have said it...not his father. How embarrassing for Lilly. I hope they are hearing it from potential donors who have a better sense of justice.

Cbkitys
Cbkitys

This is just ridiculous! How long is America going to stand for this? If the 'n' word is so evil then NO ONE should use it, even rappers! We have a double standard being forced on all of us and this road isn't going to end at a good place for anyone!