Dale Earnhardt Jr. criticized driver Jeremy Clements Friday for using the N-word during an interview last week, saying there is no place for such language in NASCAR.

Clements was suspended for the remark, which he made during an interview with an MTV blogger and in the presence of a NASCAR public relations person. NASCAR’s rulebook includes a code of conduct clause that prohibits disparaging language when referring to someone’s race, color, gender, etc. He was suspended for NASCAR said was an “insensitive and intolerable” remark.

Clements, a 28-year-old Nationwide Series driver, has apologized and said the word was not directed at any particular driver or individual.

“It’s just really unfortunate that he chose to make that decision at that time to use that language,” Earnhardt said at Phoenix International Raceway Friday. “I don’t like it. There’s no room for that in my life. … When one person’s mistake looks bad on the sport, it’s unfortunate.”

Marty Beckerman, a blogger for MTV’s Guy Code, told MTV News that Clements used the N-word during an interview prior to the Nationwide Series race at Daytona.

“I was there to do a humor piece, so I asked him what would be Guy Code for racecar drivers, and he blurted out [a phrase that used the N-word],” he said.

Beckerman told MTV News that Clements did not use the phrase in reference to a specific driver, but was saying that "if you drive roughly, you'll be treated roughly."

NASCAR is sending Clements to sports diversity expert Dr. Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida, before he'll be allowed back in his car.

Jeff Gordon said NASCAR has made it clear that it would not tolerate such statements and racial slurs.

“NASCAR has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to things that could be detrimental to the sport, that could have a negative impact on the sport,” Gordon said.

“I don’t know exactly all the details but obviously whatever was said drew them to that conclusion that it was something that could really impact the sport negatively.”

Jeff Burton said he wanted to know exactly what was said and what context it was said in before commenting.

“I don’t think NASCAR would suspend someone for something small,” Burton said. “I don’t think they would. I don’t know what was said, I don’t know how it was said.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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