Esports Arena: NASCAR Driver Fired for Using Racial Slur During Live-Stream Event

Kyle Larson -practice for NASCAR Cup Series- February 21, 2020 - Getty-H 2020
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Elsewhere in competitive gaming: Major League Soccer and Fox team for virtual season with star players; 'Call of Duty' League returns with online-only events; inaugural ESPN 'NBA 2K' tournament concludes; and 'Overwatch' League player hits milestone.

Esports Arena is a curated weekly roundup of the biggest stories in the world of online competitive gaming.

Professional NASCAR driver Kyle Larson has been fired from his team, Chip Ganassi Racing, after he used a racial slur during a live-streamed eNASCAR iRacing event this weekend.

Larson was heard using the slur during Sunday’s Monza Madness iRacing event. "You can't hear me?" Larson said on the stream, before stating, "Hey, n—er." Larson's comments were picked up across the streams of multiple drivers also participating in the event, as well as on the eNASCAR website's feed. 

Chip Ganassi Racing initially suspended Larson for his comments, but on Tuesday the team released a statement that it would be "ending its relationship" with the driver. 

NASCAR has also suspended Larson for the incident, saying that the organization "has made diversity and inclusion a priority and will not tolerate the type of language used by Kyle Larson during Sunday's iRacing event."

Larson himself posted a video to Twitter on Monday, saying, "Last night I made a mistake and said a word that should never, ever be said," adding "there's no excuse" for using the slur. 

The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series will continue with a virtual race at Richmond Raceway this Sunday on Fox. 

Elsewhere, Major League Soccer and Fox Sports have announced the eMLS Tournament Special, an online FIFA 20 tournament airing on Fox Sports 1 starting this Sunday, April 19. The tournament will feature pros from both Major League Soccer and the competitive FIFA community, with one of each paired into one of 16 teams, all representing actual MLS clubs. Each weekly broadcast will feature four teams from the revealed bracket, with the final four teams competing in the Grand Finals on May 17. The first week's matchups will include Chicago Fire defender Francisco Calvo with Enrique "BITW7" Espinoza, Cincinnati FC's Kendall Waston with former eMLS champion Gordon "Fiddle" Thornsberry and more. 

Here's what else is happening in the world of esports.

Inaugural ESPN NBA 2K Players Tournament Crowns Devin Booker

The ESPN NBA 2K Players Tournament ended with the Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker defeating his real-life teammate Deandre Ayton to win the finals, two matches to zero. In the first game, the Booker-controlled Houston Rockets defeated Ayton's Los Angeles Lakers 74-62, while the second match saw Booker choose the Denver Nuggets in a 72-62 win over Ayton's Milwaukee Bucks. By winning the competition, Booker earned a $100,000 donation in his name to the coronavirus relief-based charity of his choice, which he split between Direct Relief and the Arizona Food Bank Network.  

Philadelphia Fusion Star Sets Overwatch League Milestone

During the Philadelphia Fusion's Week 10 matchup with the Atlanta Reign this week, Fusion star player Jae-hyeok "Carpe" Lee became the first player in Overwatch League history to reach 4,000 career kills. The milestone came during the first map of the contest, a 2-1 win for the Fusion, with Lee completing the record kill playing Torbjorn. The Fusion would go on to win the match three maps to two, and currently sit in second place of the Overwatch League standings with an 8-1 record through nine matches, ranked behind only the undefeated Seoul Dynasty. The Overwatch League will continue online play this weekend, expanding into Thursday matchups for the first time with the Atlanta Reign facing the Washington Justice at 4 p.m. PT.

Florida Squad Reigns in Call of Duty League's Online Debut

The Call of Duty League returned for the first time since its postponement in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, playing the entirety of the Dallas Empire's Home Series online over the weekend. After a weekend of matchups that saw the league-leading Chicago Huntsmen eliminated in the semifinals, the team that defeated them, the Florida Mutineers, emerged victorious. The win moves the Mutineers into a three-way tie for second place overall with the Minnesota Rokkr and the Dallas Empire, all three teams only 10 points behind the Huntsmen. Online league play will continue April 24-26 with the Chicago Huntsmen Home Series, which will also includes the Dallas Empire, the Atlanta FaZe and the London Royal Ravens.

MLB Hosts Online Season With Real Stars Amid Lockdown

Major League Baseball has launched a new MLB The Show online league featuring players from all 30 MLB teams. The league will feature each team playing each other one time, a total of 29 games per team, with the top eight teams in the league advancing to the postseason. Players that will be competing for their respective teams include the San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence, the New York Yankees' Tommy Kahnle, the Philadelphia Phillies' Rhys Hoskins and the Texas Rangers' Joey Gallo. Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association and Sony Interactive Entertainment will donate $5,000 to each player's local Boys and Girls Club, with the winner of the league's club receiving an extra $25,000 donation. League play began Friday and will continue until the postseason begins April 30.