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Sportswriter Tweets That Japanese Indy 500 Winner Makes Him 'Uncomfortable'

A Denver sportswriter is facing an onslaught of criticism after tweeting that a Japanese man winning the Indianapolis 500 Race made him “uncomfortable" on Sunday.
Image: Terry Frei, Denver Post Reporter.
Terry Frei, Denver Post Reporter.John Leyba / Denver Post via Getty Images

A Denver sportswriter is out of his job after triggering an onslaught of criticism for tweeting that a Japanese driver winning Sunday's Indianapolis 500 made him “uncomfortable."

Terry Frei, a sports reporter for the Denver Post, sent the questionable tweet shortly after Japanese race car driver Takuma Sato hailed victory in the illustrious Indy 500.

"Nothing specifically personal, but I am very uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend," he wrote.

The tweet immediately evoked a firestorm of criticism on social media.

Frei apologized Sunday but not after doubling down in his response to the first wave of heat by tweeting "THIS is what Memorial Day is about. Dave Schreiner's death in Battle of Okinawa. Not for squeamish or 'sensitive.'"

Schreiner was an American football player who died while serving alongside his Frei's father in World War II, and whom the sportswriter had written about in the past.

Unsurprisingly, another round of criticism followed, leading Frei to delete his tweets and replace them with “I apologize.”

Shortly after he tried to clarify his original comment with an apology letter that referenced his “perspective.”

“I researched and wrote quite graphically about the deaths of my father’s teammates,” he wrote. He said he has the photos Schreiner carried of his family and girlfriend when he was killed. "That is part of my perspective,” he wrote.

He then went on to apologize to the people he “offended” and also apologized to Sato.

The Denver Post released a statement on Monday apologizing for the "disrespectful and unacceptable tweet."

"Terry Frei is no longer an employee of The Denver Post," the statement added.

Sato became the first Japanese driver to win the Indianapolis 500, the nation’s most recognized racing event, after outpacing more than 30 other cars. He took the trophy after badly crashing his car in the same race in 2012.

Sato has thus far stayed mum on Frei's comments.

Japanese driver Takuma Sato of Andretti Autosport celebrates with his team after winning the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana, May 28, 2017.Kamil Krzaczynski / EPA