Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato is speaking out about the racist tweet posted by a former writer of the Denver Post.
On Sunday, Sato became the first driver from Japan to win the Indy 500, but the accomplishment wasn’t appreciated in all quarters.
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.”
Frei later deleted the tweet, but a screenshot can be seen here:
On Monday, the Denver Post fired Frei and apologized for his “disrespectful and unacceptable tweet.”
Sato finally commented on the incident on Tuesday, telling the Associated Press that it was “unfortunate” Frei had lost his job.
Sato said he appreciated the support he’s received from people who considered Frei’s tweet to be inappropriate.
“I do respect the Denver Post decision,” Sato said.
Frei has apologized on Twitter, but tried to justify it by saying he had just placed flowers on the grave of his father who flew combat missions over Japan in World War II.
Frei’s original tweet and apology aren’t acceptable to at least one of his former co-workers at the Denver Post.
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.