Race cars get the green flag at Fairmont Raceway, Friday, July 23, 2021, in Fairmont, Minn. Lon Oelke, an announcer who was fired by an Iowa track after a racist rant, was back behind the microphone at Fairmont on Friday.
FAIRMONT, Minn. (AP) — An auto racing announcer in southern Minnesota is out for the rest of the season following a racist rant he made during a side gig in Iowa last month — and the Minnesota track promoter who supported him is now apologizing.
Fairmont Raceway promoter Jon McCorkell, in southern Minnesota, said he’s sorry for comments he made in support of longtime announcer Lon Oelke. Oelke was fired from his side gig at an Iowa racetrack last month after he complained about people who refuse to stand for the national anthem to take a stand against racial inequity.
McCorkell initially defended Oelke and said he would support him at Fairmont. But now he says he’s learned a lot about the issues behind the protest. The raceway said Oelke will take a leave of absence for the rest of the season, the Star Tribune reported.
“I realize that I cannot take back or fix what I said, but I would like to say I was wrong and I am sorry for the comments that I made last week,” McCorkell said in a statement released by the raceway.
“I have talked to many people on these issues over the last few days,” McCorkell said. “I learned a lot about what some of the underlying deeper issues are for a lot of people.
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