NASCAR has ordered driver Denny Hamlin to take a sensitivity training course after he posted a now-deleted tweet that included a clip from "Family Guy" that stereotypes Asian drivers, Yahoo! Sports reported.
Hamlin and fellow driver Kyle Larson are good friends, the outlet said. (They indeed look chummy in the above photo.)
Larson's maternal family is Japanese, Yahoo! Sports said, adding that he's the first person from NASCAR's Driver for Diversity program to win a Cup Series title.
In the final seconds of Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, Larson went for the lead before the finish line and hit Kurt Busch, who hit the wall "and the subsequent crash that unfolded also collected Bubba Wallace," the outlet said.
Busch and Wallace drive for 23XI Racing, which Hamlin co-owns with Michael Jordan, Yahoo! Sports said.
So Hamlin posted a tweet Monday with the "Family Guy" clip as a joke toward his good friend Larson, the outlet said, and then he deleted it hours later and issued an apology:
For the curious among you, another Twitter user reposted Hamlin's tweet and video in the comments under Hamlin's apology tweet below:
NASCAR said Hamlin must begin his sensitivity training by the start of the next Cup Series race at Dover on Sunday, Yahoo! Sports reported.
The outlet noted that NASCAR instituted mandatory sensitivity training for all participants ahead of the 2021 season, and other drivers have been required to take sensitivity training after saying or posting offensive things recently.
Busch was ordered to complete sensitivity training in November after using the R-word to describe Brad Keselowski's driving at Martinsville, Yahoo! Sports said, adding that Truck Series driver Hailie Deegan had to complete sensitivity training after using the R-word during a Twitch stream of a virtual race in January 2021.
What's more, Larson himself was suspended for most of the 2020 season and had to complete sensitivity training after using the N-word during a virtual race, the outlet said, adding that he was reinstated to NASCAR after fulfilling requirements for a return to the Cup Series and then won the 2021 title.
How are folks reacting?
While some Twitter commenters said Hamlin was in the wrong, others commenting under his apology tweet expressed dismay over the discipline handed down to him and said people are taking things way too seriously these days:
- "I’m a Larson fan, and this is ridiculous," one commenter said. "Political correctness has led to a sissified society. Everyone is offended by everything...and since that’s going to continue, go on being yourself. No worries."
- "No way you had to apologize for that. You were just trying to be funny. A shame people couldn’t take a joke. Sorry you have to do this man," another user wrote.
- "I thought it was hilarious!!" another commenter said. "Best thing on Twitter in a while!"