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NASCAR driver reinstated after completing 'diversity and inclusion training' for liking a George Floyd meme

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

NASCAR has reinstated driver Noah Gragson after he successfully completed his re-education in diversity and inclusion, NASCAR announced, a little over a month after he was suspended for liking a meme about George Floyd on Instagram.

“Noah Gragson has completed diversity and inclusion training with our partners at RISE,” a NASCAR spokesperson said, adding that the group recommended his reinstatement, restoring his member privileges.

RISE describes itself as "a national nonprofit that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations."

Gragson took to his social media to thank NASCAR for giving him a second chance.

"I want to express my sincere gratitude to NASCAR for reinstating me. Over the past several weeks, I have dedicated myself to personal growth and reflection, and I believe I have become a better person because of it," Gragson said on his X page. "I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family and the NASCAR industry."

"I am now more focused and committed than ever to representing my future team in the best way possible. I’m eager to get back behind the wheel and compete at the highest level, giving it my all on and off the track. Thank you to everyone who have been a part of this journey, and I can’t wait to make the most of this second chance."

Gragson was suspended indefinitely by his team, the Legacy Motor Club, and NASCAR in August 2023 for liking a meme that mocked George Floyd using a parody song.

After the suspension on August 5, 2023, it took just three days for his team to announce that he would miss at least the next two races.

By August 10, Gragson and his team had announced his request for release so that he could pass a diversity training program.

The CEO of the Legacy Motor Club, Cal Wells III, said at the time that he was "proud" that Gragson had "taken ownership of his actions."

According to Autoweek, NASCAR tailors its reinstatement programs specifically to the offense committed by each individual.

For example in 2020, driver Kyle Larson was suspended for allegedly racist remarks. His reinstatement process included hiring a diversity coach, speaking with prominent black athletes, and listening to various members of black communities across the country about their experiences.

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