US writer out of job after Japanese Indy 500 victor remarks



Wed, 07 Jun 2017 - 09:16 GMT


Wed, 07 Jun 2017 - 09:16 GMT

Indianapolis 500 - Creative Commons via Wikimedia Commons

Indianapolis 500 - Creative Commons via Wikimedia Commons

CAIRO - 7 June 2017: A veteran sportswriter has left U.S. newspaper the Denver Post on Monday after he stated he was unsettled by a Japanese driver's victory in the Indianapolis 500, the famous automobile race held over the U.S. Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day is an annual federal holiday when the United States honors its war dead, including those killed by Japanese forces in World War II.

Journalist Terry Frei triggered a firestorm of criticism with his remark published on Twitter after Takuma Sato became the first Japanese driver to win the IndyCar motor race. Sato beat 32 other competitors in the prestigious event staged at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, known as the Brickyard.

“Nothing specifically personal, but I am very uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend,” Frei tweeted on Sunday.
Social media reaction to the post prompted Frei to issue an apology later that day.

“I apologize to Takuma Sato,” he wrote, “I made a stupid reference, during an emotional weekend, to one of the nations that we fought in World War II – and in this case, the specific one my father fought against.”

Frei is the author of “Third Down and a War to Go,” a book chronicling the fate of the University of Wisconsin’s 1942 football squad. The team included his father, who fought against the Japanese in the war after the season.

The United States entered the war in 1941 after a Japanese naval force attacked the U.S. naval fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

Late Monday morning, the Post’s publisher Mac Tully and editor Lee Ann Colacioppo issued a joint statement on the newspaper’s website stating Frei had left the publication. It did not indicate whether he was fired or resigned.

“We apologize for the disrespectful and unacceptable tweet that was sent by one of our reporters,” the statement said, “Terry Frei is no longer an employee of the Denver Post.”
Frei did not immediately respond to an email message for comment. After winning the race, Sato, 40, said he understood the significance of what his victory means to his country.

"This will be mega big. I cannot imagine how it's going to be,” he told reporters, "Nowadays, a lot of Japanese, the fans [are] following IndyCar Series, particularly for the Indy 500.”



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