Indy500 winner Sato receives racist message by US columnist

Indianapolis 500 winner, former F1 driver & British F3 champion Takuma Sato yesterday spoke out about the racist tweet posted by a former writer of the Denver Post.

Part of the fabled ‘Triple Crown‘, the Indy 500 is one of the oldest, fastest races in global motorsport and Sato became the first driver from Japan to win it.

After the race, sports writer Terry Frei posted on Twitter that he was “uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend.”

The writer later deleted the tweet, but a screenshot can be seen here:

The day after the race ended, Frei’s employer; the Denver Post fired him apologised for his “disrespectful and unacceptable tweet.” It appeared that Frei’s original tweet and subsequent apology wasn’t acceptable for the Newspaper. Incredibly Frei appears to mildly plug the fact that he’s written books on the subject of ‘American athletes in WW2’ during his ‘apology’.

Sato’s reaction to the affair was dignified stating that it was “unfortunate” Frei had lost his job and he appreciated the support he’s received from people who considered Frei’s tweet to be inappropriate. “I do respect the Denver Post decision,” confirmed the driver.

On Sunday, Gil Asakawa, a former executive producer at the Denver Post’s website, wrote a Facebook post wondering what Frei thought about a Japanese man running the website that featured his sports coverage.

“Was he ‘very uncomfortable’ with me having power over his content?” he said, before questioning whether Frei would’ve reacted the same way had a German or Italian driver won the race.

Sadly it appears that race tensions are still apparent in all Motorsport, not just F1.

Sato ends on a positive note: “Well, now we achieved the big dream and achievement, now we are concentrating on the rest of the season, try to get as many points as possible to challenge for the championship.”

8 responses to “Indy500 winner Sato receives racist message by US columnist

  1. the face of it, a stupid man.
    If you keep seeing former enemies as enemies, you’ll end up without allies. His father probably would’ve agreed with that.
    However, there’s a reason people like him are second generation victims. So, he’s still wrong but it helps to understand where he came from.

  2. There’s a mostly about cars blog that I read, and the writer expressed his discomfort watching Sato being driven around waving the Japanese flag. On Memorial Day, which is about our war dead. WWII is still too close for some of us who were born during the war.

    • Nope! My father and grandfather both fought and were wounded against the Germans. My father would not visit when I was stationed in Germany 50 years later. He had the additional horror of liberating a concentration camp after he recovered from his wounds. I also know that the Germans now are a hard working people, great culture, great advances in science and the arts. Feel a little bad for Dad (still kicking at 91) as he wouldn’t take the chance to see, but I understand.

      My wife is Korean. Her father got to spend three years as a slave laborer in Japan during the war. No reparations, nothing. She does not hold a grudge against individual Japanese folks, we have known many. My sister-in-law recently visited on business – language and food a bit different, otherwise remarkably the same as Korea she said. It was the actions of a dictatorial government that didn’t represent the citizens.

      The climate in the U.S. and the present government encourage people to express such irrational hatred. I reject it and have retired elsewhere. No time for hatred from this old warrior.

      • Multi-generational military family here, all my relatives who participated in WWII in the Pacific theatre served with distinction (multiple Bronze stars, multiple Purple Hearts, one Silver star). They would get together every year, the unit my great-uncle, grandfather, and family friend all served together in. They would tell dreadful stories about Okinawa and the fighting.

        But make no mistake. These men harbored no ill will towards modern Japan or the Japanese citizenry, even of those they might have fought against. I met plenty of these now-past heroes and I can safely say that all of them would be disgusted with the state of the country if they were alive today, let alone the words by that journalist.

        Judge not by the actions of one.

  3. Odd how Michael Andretti and his chief mechanic got any wth saying in the post race conference this was a win for the little guys!

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