A Japanese Driver Winning the Indy 500 on Memorial Day Weekend Made One Journalist ‘Uncomfortable’

AP Photo
AP Photo/Michael Conroy

**UPDATE**: It has since become known that the sports writer referenced in this article, Terry Frei, has been fired by the Denver Post.

Sports writer Terry Frei of the Denver Post may have thought he was boosting for the U.S.A. when he wrote a Tweet saying he was “uncomfortable” that a Japanese driver won the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend, but he soon found that few if anyone agreed with him when Twitter lashed back.

Once the race ended and it was reported that Japan-born Takuma Sato had taken the win, Frei jumped to his Twitter account to voice his displeasure at the idea of a Japanese person wining the All American race less than 24 hours before the day we memorialize our fallen soldiers.

“Nothing specifically personal, but I am very uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend,” Frei Tweeted on May 28.

Perhaps in response to the pushback he was already getting, Frei added a second Tweet saying, “THIS is what Memorial Day is about. Dave Schreiner’s death in Battle of Okinawa. Not for squeamish or ‘sensitive.”

Frei’s attempt at history didn’t strike many as particularly relevant.

But, clearly the Denver sportsman felt queasy that the winning driver was a man who hails from a country America fought in World War II. But, not many agreed with him on Twitter. In fact, Frei was hit with such a wave of rejection that he soon deleted both the offending tweets.

Of course, regardless of who did what in World War II, the truth is the Indianapolis 500 has always been an international affair. Not only has the race been a destination event for drivers from all over the world, but the world’s car manufacturers have always vied for the honor of being the top machine.

Even the 2017 Festival Princess was Carmel High School’s Shivani Bajpai, an Indian-American from Zionsville, Indiana.

But if it makes Mr. Frei feel any better, the winning driver was driving for Ruoff Home Mortgage based in Fort Wayne, Indiana.That’s pretty American, right?

In any case, Twitter slapped back hard at the sportswriter’s tweet.


In the end, Frei’s own employer had to do a bit of damage control, as well.

Suffice to say, the Posts’s sportswriter didn’t have the best Memorial Day weekend.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.


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