Darius Rucker: It’s Time to Forgive Morgan Wallen for N-Word Video

“Since that incident, I’ve seen him really try to better himself,” Rucker said.Updated Jul. 04, 2024 4:06AM EDT / Published Jul. 03, 2024 8:07PM EDT Stephen J. Cohen/Getty ImagesDarius Rucker, the Hootie & the Blowfish frontman-turned-country music star, has always believed in second chances.During a candid interview on the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast, the conversation turned to Morgan Wallen and an infamous

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“Since that incident, I’ve seen him really try to better himself,” Rucker said.

Ben Sherwood

Darius Rucker and Morgan Wallen.

Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images

Darius Rucker, the Hootie & the Blowfish frontman-turned-country music star, has always believed in second chances.

During a candid interview on the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast, the conversation turned to Morgan Wallen and an infamous video of him saying the N-word.

“I’ve known Morgan a long time,” Rucker began. “Since that incident, I’ve seen him really try to better himself. He’s become a better person and is seeing the world in a much better way.”

The incident stemmed from a notorious clip from early 2021 where Wallen was caught on camera using the N-word with a group of friends in front of his home in Nashville. The fallout was swift and severe. Wallen’s recording contract with Big Loud Records was suspended indefinitely, and major platforms like CMT, iHeart Media, SiriusXM, and Pandora yanked his music from their airwaves.

“Morgan knew he had to make significant changes,” Rucker said. “He checked himself into a rehab facility, trying to understand the roots of his actions. It wasn’t just about apologizing; it was about real transformation.”

Wallen’s journey back to the public eye was slow and purposeful. By 2022, he had begun to regain his footing, performing at the Billboard Music Awards and winning the award for top country male artist. Yet, despite his commercial success, many within the industry remained wary.

“He’s still not out for CMAs and ACMs,” Rucker pointed out. “They can say what they want, but the fact that Morgan Wallen is not up for entertainer of the year and those things is crazy. No one’s selling more tickets than Morgan.”

Wallen himself has addressed the incident with a mix of regret and resolve. “The video you saw was me on hour 72 of a bender, and that’s not something I’m proud of either,” he admitted during an interview. “Our actions matter. Our words matter. And I want to encourage anyone that is watching to please learn from my mistake. There’s no reason to downplay what I did.”

Despite his efforts to reform, controversy followed Wallen. In April 2023, he was arrested after allegedly throwing a chair from the top of Chief’s Bar in Nashville, an establishment owned by fellow country music star Eric Church.

“I didn’t feel right publicly checking in until I made amends with some folks,” Wallen wrote in a statement following the incident. “I’ve touched base with Nashville law enforcement, my family, and the good people at Chief’s. I’m not proud of my behavior, and I accept responsibility.”

For Rucker, the path to redemption is ongoing. “Forgiveness is a process,” he concluded. “Morgan’s trying, and that’s what matters. We need to recognize that and give him the space to grow.”

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