Sportswriter is beyond sorry for ‘very uncomfortable’ tweet about Japanese driver winning Indy 500

A sportswriter for the Denver Post posted an ill-advised tweet Sunday commenting on the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 and quickly came to regret it.

Takuma Sato won the 101st running of the the Memorial Day weekend classic Sunday and sportswriter Terry Frei shared on Twitter how he was “very uncomfortable” with that.

Frei said in the tweet: “Nothing specifically personal, but I am very uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend.”

It didn’t take long for him to delete the tweet, but, alas, the internet is forever:

Frei tweet

His distaste for a Japanese driver is a holdover sentiment from World War Two, but it apparently did not occur to Frei, who was born 10 years after the war ended, that Sato was driving for Andretti Autosport and that Mario Andretti, a previous winner of the Indy 500, was born in Italy, which also fought against the U.S. during the war.

A fierce backlash prompted Frei to apologize, then offer a detailed statement outlining his thinking, to include sharing that his father served in the Pacific theater during the war:

https://twitter.com/TFrei/status/868983753892401153

https://twitter.com/TFrei/status/869036468429127680

His employer was also quick to get in on the act:

And while Frei was likely hoping to see an American win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” as the Indy 500 is called, social media users wasted no time eviscerating him for his poor judgement.

Here’s a sampling of the responses from Twitter:

*Caution: Adult Language

https://twitter.com/russbengtson/status/868949098229059585

Of course, Japanese commentators had a whole other take on the outcome of the race:

Tom Tillison

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