Eli Lilly pulled its sponsorship of Indy Car racer, Conor Daly, after Conor’s father, Derek Daly, admitted to using a racial slur during a live radio broadcast in the 1980s, almost a decade before Conor Daly was born.
Lilly Diabetics was expected to be a primary sponsor of Daly’s #6 car in his NASCAR debut this weekend, but told local media Friday evening that it “didn’t want the distraction from their cause,” presented by Derek Daly’s admission.
“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,” the company said in a statement. “We remain committed to our mission of supporting people with diabetes.”
Last week, Derek Daly was revealed to have been part of an on-air conversation with Indianapolis Colts radio announcer Bob Lamey that ended in both Daly and Lamey using the n-word. Daly acknowledged his use of the racial slur on Friday.
Lilly’s decision to punish Daly’s son, Conor, who wasn’t even born when Daly used the slur, shocked racing fans and racing journalists.
Re: Lilly pulling sponsorship from Conor Daly’s Infinity Series ride: pic.twitter.com/Zh2czlCklV
— Matt Glenesk (@MattGlenesk) August 24, 2018
— Dave Griffiths (@DaveG_Sports) August 24, 2018
Lilly had agreed to sponsor Conor Daly at the Indy 500 and at the NASCAR Road America event as part of a partnership with Daly, who has Type 1 diabetes. Daly took part in Lilly’s campaign to help Type 2 diabetics better manage their condition with Lilly’s products.
Daly was, at least, grateful for Lilly’s support back in May, as he said in a gracious Tweet Saturday.
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
— Conor Daly (@ConorDaly22) August 24, 2018
Daly came in 30th at the Road America race Saturday afternoon.