Iowa race track cuts ties with announcer after racist rant
Posted On July 23, 2021
Iowa race track says it will cut ties with announcer who launched racist rant against black fans and athletes who kneel during national anthem
ThroughThe Associated Press
23 July 2021, 01:08
• 3 minutes to read
ALGONA, Iowa – An Iowa running track said Thursday it would cut ties with an announcer who launched a racist rant against black fans and athletes who kneel during the national anthem to protest the racial inequalities.
Kossuth County Speedway in Algona, Iowa, said its executives “did not tolerate” comments made by the announcer ahead of the July 15 races, but called them an isolated incident.
The highway and the county fair board said its management did not hear the announcer’s comments when he made them, and only got their attention by the through a social media post earlier Thursday.
In its statement, the speedway said the man who made the comments was replacing its primary announcer and would not be employed at future track events.
“It was not good and it will not happen again,” the statement said. “Kossuth County Speedway is eager to prove to our fans, drivers and crews that we can and will do better.”
The announcer’s comments were broadcast on FloRacing, which broadcasts live racing events. FloRacing said in a statement Thursday that it had removed the broadcast of the event and that “the opinions and language of the advertiser do not reflect our core values or have no place on our platform.”
In video posted Thursday on Twitter, the announcer told the crowd he wanted to make a “social service announcement” before the national anthem. He condemned those who “will not defend our flag” or who “kneel” during the hymn.
“I have four words for you: find another country if you don’t,” he said. “Get out of the dodge.”
Cheers from the crowd can be heard at this point. The announcer added that he was outraged that the NFL is planning to play the black national anthem ahead of games this season “for these people, I guess the darker skin color, I will just say, blacks.”
“They want a different national anthem and the NFL is thinking about doing it,” he said. “I’m just saying turn off the televisions and let them play in front of no one.”
The speedway did not name the announcer or respond to a request for his name. But Fairmont Raceway in Fairmont, Minnesota, identified it on its Facebook page as its longtime advertiser, Lon Oelke.
Fairmont Raceway promoter Jon McCorkell wrote that Oelke would “absolutely announce” the races on Friday night and receive a standing ovation before the national anthem. McCorkell added that he agreed “with all of Lon’s comments and opinions” and several commentators praised Oelke.
A phone number listed for Oelke was disconnected and he did not immediately respond to a request sent through Facebook Messenger.