Conor Daly was set to begin his NASCAR debut, but he hit a roadblock after his sponsor, Lilly Diabetes, pulled their sponsorship for comments Daly’s dad made 30 years ago. Daly’s father, Derek Daly, admitted to using the n-word during a radio interview in the early 1980s. His son Conor was born in 1991, almost a decade after the interview.
The comments made by Derek resurfaced because they reportedly occurred during an interview with Indianapolis Colts’ announcer Bob Lamey. Lamey then told the story of the interview to a colleague, using the same language as Derek Daly.
Word of the insensitive language used by Lamey while telling the story spread. In response to the controversy, Lamey announced his retirement on Saturday.
Because of this incident, Lilly Diabetes pulled its sponsorship from Derek Daly’s son, stating:
“Our sponsorship in Saturday’s race is intended to raise awareness of treatment options and resources for people living with diabetes. 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. We remain committed to our mission of supporting people with diabetes.”
Daly and Lilly Diabetes agreed to the partnership in May. The driver himself suffers from diabetes and was excited to help with their “Drive Down A1C” campaign.
In a classy response to the ridiculous move, Conor took to Twitter, thanking Lilly Diabetes for their support in helping him grow, even though they dropped him for something that happened before he was born:
The last 24hrs have been quite an unnecessarily difficult ride for my family. There is A LOT I want to say… but I’m still here and still racing. I appreciate the support from @roushfenway and ALL of you. @LillyDiabetes has been a big part of my career and Im very thankful. #6
Although Conor remained graceful throughout the sponsorship scandal, many others expressed their frustration with the situation on Twitter:
Now, a NASCAR driver has lost a sponsor because of something *his father* said over 30 years ago. That’s taking offence archeology to a new level.
Wait…what? @LillyDiabetes pulled their sponsorship of @ConorDaly22 because his father admitted to using the “n-word” in a radio interview in the early 80s? And Conor wasn’t even born until 1991? This makes no sense.
Question for Eli Lilly HR, whose company stopped a sponsorship of a driver because of what his father said 10 years before driver was born. Before you hire employees, do you do background checks on their parents?
This race was Conor’s first in NASCAR Xfinity series. He previously drove only in IndyCar races.
- Madison Dibble | ijr.com (PHOTO: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)