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Company pulls NASCAR driver’s sponsorship for something his dad uttered – before he was even born!

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A NASCAR driver has lost a sponsorship after an organization cited a racially insensitive remark made over three decades ago.

But the IndyCar driver making his NASCAR debut Saturday, Conor Daly, wasn’t even born when the alleged racial slur was made.

Lilly Diabetes pulled its sponsorship of Daly’s No. 6 car in the NASCAR Xfinity race at Road America because of a comment made by his father, Derek Daly, over 30 years ago, according to RTV6 The Indy Channel.

The organization claimed its focus on raising awareness of resources for people living with diabetes was being overshadowed by the comment made by Daly’s father in the 1980s.

“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.

Daly took to Twitter to comment on the “unnecessarily difficult ride” his family had endured in the last 24 hours.

Derek Daly, a freelance racing analyst and former CART and Formula One driver, was fired though he denied being the source of the racial slur and seemed to prompt the retirement of longtime Indianapolis Colts sportscaster Bob Lamey.

“Last night WISH-TV severed ties with me after former sports broadcaster Bob Lamey apparently inaccurately attributed a racial slur to me during an interview in the early 80’s,” Daly said in a statement. “It was reported on their website that I confirmed this. Both of these reports are factually incorrect. On this subject, I was never interviewed by Bob Lamey. The slanderous statements made by Bob, and now being attributed to me, are not only factually incorrect, but offensive.”

A radio employee filed a complaint against Lamey last week for the slur, leading the 79-year old to announce his retirement the next day amid profuse apologies.

Daly, who had just moved to the U.S. at the time of the alleged comments, said he was “mortified” to learn how the term was used.

“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. After moving to the United States, I quickly learned what a derogatory term it was,” Daly said. “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. …”

“I want everyone to know I deeply regret and sincerely apologize for what I said more than three decades ago,” he added.

Despite Daly’s statement and the ensuing fallout over a 30-year-old remark, Conor Daly is feeling the repercussions for something that happened before he was even born. His classy response earned him kudos on Twitter.

The collective face-palms across the internet over Lilly Diabetes’ decision to revoke Daly’s sponsorship were almost audible.

Frieda Powers

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