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.
— WTWO Sports (@WTWOsports) May 28, 2017
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:
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:
His employer was also quick to get in on the act:
The Denver Post's statement on Terry Frei: pic.twitter.com/0YAmYawW7q
— The Denver Post (@denverpost) May 29, 2017
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
Terry, shut the fuck up.
— Brendan (@macleanbrendan) May 28, 2017
@TFrei SPECIFICALLY personal, i am very uncomfortable w your racism, xenophobia & lack of understanding of what the Indianapolis 500 is all about
— megan brown (@thatgirlondeck) May 28, 2017
the ratio on this tweet is going to be one to behold
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) May 28, 2017
@denverpost I am very uncomfortable with a newspaper that employs writers who are very uncomfortable with certain nationalities winning sports contests.
— Michael Chang (@michaelofchang) May 29, 2017
@denverpost People make mistakes, but that apology… come on! He’s got to say sorry like he means it. Stunning lack of awareness
— Andy Moon (@andymoonsun) May 29, 2017
— ᔕᕼᗩB〇〇TY (@SHABOOTY) May 29, 2017
@TFrei i’m sorry I’m racist. I try to hide my racism but it’s harder around holidays. I won’t mention my book. Sorry I’m racist
— Ian Fortey (@IanFortey) May 29, 2017
— Ryan Leong (@RyanLeong) May 29, 2017
Of course, Japanese commentators had a whole other take on the outcome of the race:
— Matt Glenesk (@MattGlenesk) May 28, 2017
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