Noah Gragson, a NASCAR driver, has been disqualified for his social media behavior

Noah Gragson waits on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out 400 at Richmond Raceway on July 29, 2023 in Richmond, Virginia.Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Noah Gragson waits on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out 400 at Richmond Raceway on July 29, 2023 in Richmond, Virginia. Sean Gardner/Getty Images

 

Driver Noah Gragson has been placed on indefinite administrative leave, NASCAR said on Saturday. The choice was made after it appeared that the driver liked a crude image on social media that featured a picture of George Floyd.

When Josh Berry took over the No. 42 car on Saturday, Gragson, 25, was in the middle of his first full season as a driver in the Cup Series, NASCAR’s top division, according to a statement from his team.

Gragson’s suspension was announced by Legacy Motor Club, who stated that his actions “do not represent the values of our team.”

According to NASCAR, Gragson broke the member behavior section of the regulations for stock car racing, which, among other things, prohibits members from publicly disparaging others based on their backgrounds.

Although drivers who have been sidelined under indefinite suspension in the past have had opportunity to rejoin NASCAR, NASCAR stated that the punishment will be “indefinite.”

Gragson accepted his behavior but did not specifically address the claimed meme in a message on platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

The racing star doesn’t directly tie the two together, but his X Saturday statement seems to lend credence to the idea that his ban stems from support for the George Floyd joke.

The racing star wrote in a tweet on Saturday, “I am disappointed in myself for my lack of attention and actions on social media. “I am aware of how serious this circumstance is. I value and adore everyone. I aim to be fair to everyone, regardless of their identity. I made a mistake, plain and simple.

Requests for clarification on the cause of Gragson’s suspension received no quick response from NASCAR or Legacy. According to Fox Sports, NASCAR confirmed the suspension’s connection to the meme.

TMZ reported on Gragson’s apparent like of the post on Saturday and shared a screenshot that purported to show it coming from a Gragson account. The meme features a picture of Floyd’s face and makes mention of his passing on May 25, 2020, following 912 minutes of a white Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck.

Officers had pulled over Floyd, a Black man, while they were looking into a tip that someone had passed a fake $20 money through a market.

A summer of nationwide demonstrations were sparked by footage of his excruciating death, and the four officers involved were successfully prosecuted on state and federal levels.

As NASCAR settled in for the weekend at Michigan International Speedway for Cup racing and lesser series events building up to the marquee Firekeepers Casino 400, Gragson was suspended.

In its own statement on Saturday, Chevrolet, which is the brand name on the No. 42 of the Legacy Motor Club, stated that Noah’s actions “do not correspond with our views and brand values. On the next steps, we will cooperate with Legacy Motor Club.