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Denver Post writer fired after expressing discomfort at Japanese Indy 500 winner

The Guardian logo The Guardian 29/05/2017 Guardian sport
Takuma Sato © USA Today Sports Takuma Sato

The Denver Post has fired columnist Terry Frei after the seven-time state sportswriter of the year posted a racially charged tweet following Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

The race was won by Japan’s Takuma Sato. However, Frei expressed his displeasure at the victory on Memorial Day weekend, when the US traditionally pays tribute to its troops. 

“Nothing specifically personal, but I am very uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend,” wrote in a tweet that was later deleted

Frei apologized for the message and said that his father had flown missions over Japan during the second world war. “I should have known better and I regret it,” Frei said. “I made a stupid reference, during an emotional weekend, to one of the nations that we fought in World War II.”

However, that apology was undermined when he thanked a woman who supported his original statement. 

The Denver Post issued its own apology and said Frei is no longer working for the newspaper. “We apologize for the disrespectful and unacceptable tweet that was sent by one of our reporters,” read the statement. “Terry Frei is no longer an employee of The Denver Post. It’s our policy not to comment further on personnel issuesThe tweet doesn’t represent what we believe nor what we stand for. We hope you will accept our profound apologies.”

Sato won a thrilling race at the Brickyard on Sunday to become the first ever Japanese winner of the Indy 500, and thanked fans for their support. 

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