Former F1 and Indy 500 driver and longtime racing analyst Derek Daly has filed a $25 million lawsuit against the Indianapolis television station that fired him last summer over a controversial story that he claims was erroneous and did irreparable damage to his reputation and career.
The suit was filed in Hamilton County (Indiana) Superior Court with Nexstar Media Group and WISH-TV (Channel 8) named as defendants.
Last August, the Indianapolis Colts parted ways with play-by-play announcer Bob Lamey after Lamey told an off-air story that involved a racial slur and was heard by a black employee of that radio station.
Releasing a statement in response to his firing last August, Daly said that when he was a rookie at Indy in 1983, he had used the offensive word in a radio interview out of ignorance to the American connotation and immediately apologized. The full statement can be found here.
The story Lamey told was reportedly from an incident in the late ‘90s.
In its evening report on Aug. 22, 2018, WISH-TV’s anchors said: “Lamey was re-telling a story from 35 years ago and in that story Lamey used a racial slur. WISH-TV has learned that the original story came from racing analyst Derek Daly. It was a story Daly told Lamey in a live radio interview in the early ‘80s.”
Daly, speaking to RACER.com on Thursday morning, refutes any and all of WISH’s reporting.
“First off, I was never interviewed by Lamey,” Daly told RACER. “Secondly, he’s since admitted to me he got his stories confused and mistakenly attributed the story to me.
“And four hours before that telecast I wrote Channel 8 and told them Lamey’s story did not come from me. “
But in its report, WISH claimed it had spoken to Daly and he had confirmed he was the source of Lamey’s story.
“Complete fabrication, how could I confirm an interview that never happened?” Daly continued. “I was never even asked by WISH if I was the source of Lamey’s story.
“WISH management heard a rumor their racing analyst was linked to the controversial firing of Bob Lamey so they were scared Channel 13 was going to beat them to the headline and they jumped to a conclusion.
“They managed with fear – not facts.”
RACER emailed WISH GM Al Carl for a comment but received no reply.
Daly, who spent 30 years with WISH-TV as its IndyCar analyst, had all of his speaking engagements canceled in the aftermath and his son, Conor Daly, had sponsorship of a stock car program pulled because of the fallout.
The irony of his dismissal is that he’d just returned from the wedding of friend Willy T. Ribbs – the first black driver to qualify for the Indy 500 – who defended Daly non-stop after his firing.