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Denver newspaper fires sportswriter after racially insensitive tweet about Indy 500 winner

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Posted at 10:56 AM, May 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-29 14:26:23-04

DENVER – The Denver Post announced Monday it had fired its sportswriter, Terry Frei, a day after he made a racially-insensitive remark about Japanese driver Takuma Sato winning the Indianapolis 500 Sunday.

“Nothing specifically personal, but I am very uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during a Memorial Day weekend,” Frei tweeted out Sunday afternoon.

His tweet immediately set off a storm online, leading to Frei quickly deleting the tweet and sending out another message: “I apologize.”

About three hours later, Frei sent out a lengthier explanation for the original tweet, saying he had been visiting his father’s grave site at the Fort Logan National Cemetery. Frei said his father spent four years flying reconnaissance missions over Japan.

“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,” he wrote.

But the damage had apparently been done, as The Post’s publisher, Mac Tully, and editor, Lee Ann Colacioppo, announced Monday that Frei was no longer employed by the Post.

“We apologize for the disrespectful and unacceptable tweet that was sent by one of our reporters. Terry Frei is no longer an employee of The Denver Post. It’s our policy not to comment further on personnel issues,” they wrote in a statement posted to the Post’s website. “The tweet doesn’t represent what we believe nor what we stand for. We hope you will accept our profound apologies.”

Frei is also an author. He wrote a book about the 1942 Wisconsin Badgers football team, many of whom went on to fight for the U.S. in World War II.