Should Conor Daly Lose His NASCAR Sponsorship Over His Father’s Words of 30 Years Ago?

business_ethics_highlights_2Has racecar driver Conor Daly been treated unfairly by Lilly Diabetes? Lilly pulled sponsorship from Daly’s car for a recent NASCAR road racing event at Road America because his father, Derek Daly, had used a racially insensitive remark during a radio interview in the 1980s—before Conor Daly was born.

Some will cast this in terms of the employment relation, saying that Lilly pulling Conor Daly’s sponsorship is unfair because Conor Daly doesn’t (and indeed cannot) deserve it. It would be like being fired from a job for someone else’s wrongdoing.

Others will cast this in terms of a joint venture: there has to be something in it for each of the parties, and through no fault of Conor Daly’s or Lilly’s there’s no longer something in it for Lilly Diabetes because NASCAR fans will see Conor Daly’s car in a different light. It’s not unfair, it’s just business.

Possible questions for discussion:

(1) Does it matter that Conor Daly is principally an IndyCar driver, driving in NASCAR events only on the side? That is, would your evaluation of the case be different if his livelihood were tied up in driving a sponsored NASCAR vehicle?

(2) Is the termination of a business relationship a form of punishment? How does the answer to that question (whatever it may be) help to clarify evaluation of this situation?>>>

LINK: Conor Daly loses Lilly Diabetes sponsorship over remark his father made over 30 years ago (by Associated Press for IndyChannel)

Lilly Diabetes has pulled its sponsorship of Conor Daly’s No. 6 car in the NASCAR Xfinity race at Road America, citing a racially insensitive remark made by the driver’s father in the 1980s that surfaced this week.

“Unfortunately, the comments that surfaced this week by Derek Daly distract from [raising awareness for treatment options and resources for people living with diabetes], so we have made the decision that Lilly Diabetes will no longer run the No. 6 at Road America this weekend,” Lilly said.

In a statement, [Conor Daly’s father Derek] Daly said he admitted to using a racial slur for African-Americans during a radio interview in the early 1980s. Daly, who had just moved to the United States then, said the term had a different meaning and connotation in his native Ireland.

Daly said he was “mortified” when he learned how the term was used in the United States and has never used it since then. Conor Daly, 26, wasn’t born when his father made the comment.

What do you think?

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