Reporter fired for racist tweet on Sato’s Indy 500 win

ST. LOUIS, Missouri — A Denver Post sportswriter lost his job May 29 after tweeting that he was “uncomfortable” with Japanese driver Takuma Sato winning the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend.

“Nothing specifically personal, but I am very uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend,” Terry Frei wrote, after Sato became the first Japanese and Asian driver to win the Indy 500 on May 28.

Frei deleted the tweet after being met with waves of criticism accusing him of being racist, but it was too little, too late. The Denver Post issued a statement saying he was no longer staff.

“We apologize for the disrespectful and unacceptable tweet that was sent by one of our reporters,” the Colorado newspaper said. “Terry Frei is no longer an employee of The Denver Post. It’s our policy not to comment further on personnel issues.”

“The tweet doesn’t represent what we believe nor what we stand for. We hope you will accept our profound apologies.”

Frei apologized to both Sato and The Denver Post.

“I fouled up. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said what I said when I said it. I should have known better and I regret it,” Frei posted on his Twitter account. “I in no way meant to represent my employer and I apologize to The Denver Post.”

Takuma Sato speaks at a press conference on May 28. The 40-year-old Sato edged the race’s three-time champion Helio Castroneves for the victory. Kyodo News photo

“I apologize to Takuma Sato. 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.”

Sato earned $2,458,129 for the victory, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway said. Sato held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves by 0.2011 seconds in what was the sixth closest finish in Indy 500 history.

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