Darius Rucker Says It's Time to Forgive Morgan Wallen

"Since all that happened Morgan’s tried to really better himself and become a better person and see the world in a much better, better way"

Photo: Darius Rucker courtesy of Live Nation (left), Morgan Wallen by Cameron Baird (right)

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jul 3, 2024

Last December, big-ticket country star Morgan Wallen gave his first major interview in two years following the 2021 incident when he was filmed "playfully" yelling a racial slur. "There's no excuse. I've never made an excuse. I never will make an excuse," he told Billboard. "I think, for me, in my heart I was never that guy that people were portraying me to be, so there was a little bit of like, 'Damn, I'm kind of actually mad about this a little bit because I know I shouldn't have said this, but I'm really not that guy.'"

Since the slur heard 'round the internet, the singer-songwriter's career has blown up unimaginably; even just within the week of the video circulating, his sales tripled, and by 2023, he was at the top of Canada's Spotify Wrapped statistics (among other things). Amid all the sold-out stadiums and thrown phones (and chairs), Wallen still seems to be frustrated by how awarding bodies like the Grammys have continued not to recognize him.

Fellow country musician and Hootie & the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker has also noticed, and he thinks it's high time we forgive Wallen.

"I think Morgan's become a better person since that," Rucker said of the slur incident on the new episode of the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast. "I've known Morgan a long time. Since all that happened Morgan's tried to really better himself and become a better person and see the world in a much better, better way." 

He continued, "And you know, he's not forgiven. He's still not out for CMAs and ACMs. 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."

It's worth noting that Wallen was, in fact, nominated for both the CMAs and the ACMs in 2022, winning Album of the Year for Dangerous: The Double Album at the latter. But he indeed hasn't been nominated for any other awards since, save for the 2023 Billboard Music Awards — where he absolutely cleaned up with his chart recognition for Top Streaming Songs Artist, Top Country Artist, Top Male Country Artist, Top Male Artist, Top Hot 100 Artist, Billboard Music Award for Top Country Touring Artist Top Country Album (One Thing at a Time), Top Billboard 200 Album, Top Streaming Song ("Last Night"), Top Country Song ("Last Night")" and Top Hot 100 Song ("Last Night").

Back in May, Morgan Wallen's This Bar, a bar and restaurant in Nashville's famed Lower Broadway district — owned by a third party but named after the artist and his 2019 hit "This Bar" — was denied its motion to erect a neon sign with Wallen's name by city council members, who voted 30–3 against the bid due to his controversies.

Listen to Rucker's full podcast interview below, where he also revealed that he really never considered that people might think his name was Hootie after he called his band that. They're currently on tour and will make a Canadian stop in Toronto this September.

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