CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A NASCAR Nationwide Series driver, whose team is based in Mooresville, has been fined $10,000, placed on indefinite probation and ordered to attend sensitivity training for using an anti-gay slur in social media, according to a report from USA Today.
Nelson Piquet Jr. used a three-letter anti-gay slur in an Instagram message to fellow driver Parker Kligerman, who had posted a “selfie” after a workout. The comment was caught in a screenshot by fan Matthew Breuer. Kligerman seemed to laugh it off.
Piquet, in a separate, now-deleted Twitter message to a fan, said the comment was a joke between friends.
“Don’t act like if u have never called your friends names,” Piquet said in the tweet. “Were (sic) not living in the 50s anymore bud.. jokes are jokes.”
Queers4Gears.com has more details on the exchanges between Piquet and Breuer.
Piquet has since issued a statement apologizing for the remark.
“I sincerely apologize to everyone for my poor choice of words last week,” Piquet said in a statement on Tuesday. “I did not mean to hurt or offend anyone. This has been a cultural learning experience that will make me a more sensitive person moving forward.”
NASCAR officials say Piquet violated its Code of Conduct, which says a driver “shall not make or cause to be made a public statement and/or communication that criticizes, ridicules or otherwise disparages another person based upon that person’s race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age, or handicapping condition.”
Piquet, 28, drives in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series, often considered a launching pad for drivers aiming to compete in the more well-known Sprint Cup Series. His team, Turner Scott Motorsports, is based in Mooresville. The team also released a statement and said they had spoken to Piquet about his “insensitive comment” and that he “understands that such remarks will not be tolerated.”
“TSM expects those associated with the team to uphold professional standards that we can all be proud of,” the company’s statement said. “Nelson has assured the team that he has learned his lesson and he knows what it means to represent TSM.”
Other drivers have run afoul of NASCAR’s conduct code before. Earlier this year, Nationwide Series driver Jeremy Clements used a racist slur against African-Americans. He was suspended for two races.