After Japanese driver Takuma Sato won the Indianapolis 500 this weekend, Terry Frei, a reporter for The Denver Post, posted this controversial tweet:
Amidst a barrage of criticism, Frei immediately deleted the tweet. Apparently, public reproach was so extensive that the reporter was forced to issue an apology, albeit concise.
Today, The Denver Post posted a public apology of their own, as well as a declaration that Terry Frei had been fired as a result of his misguided comment.
UPDATE: The Denver Post's statement on Terry Frei https://t.co/HPYG08nOe9
(corrects typo from earlier version) pic.twitter.com/3ROSPSsELE
— The Denver Post (@denverpost) May 29, 2017
Frei also issued a longer apology, but by then the damage had been done.
Frei claimed that he “made a stupid reference, during an emotional weekend,” and invoked the fact that his father is a World War II veteran as an excuse for his racist comment. What Frei seems to overlook is the fact that America’s presence in WWII served to topple a dangerous regime that rose to power on the basis of discrimination; Americans certainly do not celebrate Memorial Day to perpetuate those same bigoted ideals.
It is especially shameful that Frei, who was named Colorado sportswriter of the year an impressive four times, would be so ignorant to the value of diversity. Minorities have shaped athletics as much as anyone else – if not more – in American history. Of all people who should appreciate diversity in sports – a field in which Jesse Owens decimated Hitler’s Aryan “master race” concept with four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic games; a Muslim fighter in Muhammed Ali fought his way into the annals of history; and Jackie Robinson singlehandedly broke the color barrier to earn his own spot in America’s pastime – it is particularly reprehensible that this sportswriter would admit that he was “uncomfortable” that someone who isn’t American “on Memorial day weekend” would accomplish something so historic.
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Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.