After Japanese driver Takuma Sato won the Indy 500 on Sunday, controversy struck when former ESPN columnist and Denver Post writer Terry Frei when he responded to the win on Twitter:
9news later reported Frie “was no longer with the company,” following an apologetic tweet from The Denver Post:
Frie also later apologized:
Here’s his full response:
“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. I in no way meant to represent my employer and I apologize to The Denver Post.
On Sunday, I was going down to Fort Logan National Cemetery to place flowers on the grave of and to salute my father, Jerry Frei, who septn the four-year gap between his sophomore and junior seasons at Wisconsin flying the F-5 unarmed version of the one-man P-38 fighter plane in the 26th Photo Squadron. (And I did make that visit.) He fled alone, or with a partner in a second place, over Japanese targets in advance of the bombing runs. When Blake Olson of Channel 9 asked him about being unarmed, he laughed and said, “I had a pistol.” He flew 67 missions, cross the 300 combat hours threshold, and earned the World War II Air Medal three times. I have written much other graphically about the deaths of my father’s teammates, Dave Schreiner and Bob Baumann, in the Battle of Okinawa. I have the picture wallet containing photos of his family and girlfriend that Schreiner was carrying when he was killed. That is part of my perspective.
I am sorry, I made a mistake, and I understand 72 years have passed since the end of World War II and I do regret people with whom I probably am very closely aligned with politically and philosophically have been so offended. To those people, I apologize. (In fact, the assumptions about my political and social leanings have been quite inaccurate.) I apologize to Takuma Sato. I made a stupid reference, during an emotion weekend, to one of the nations that we fought in World War II — and, in this case, the specific one of my father fought against. Again, I will say I’m sorry, I know better, and I’m angry at myself because there was no constructive purpose to saying it and I should not have said it, especially because The Denver Post has been dragged into this.
Despite his apology, Frei later thanked a sympathizer:
Sato became the first driver from an Asian nation to win the Indianapolis 500 race.