North Iowa race track announcer fired after ‘darker-toned skin color’ comments

Fairmont Raceway promoter Jon McCorkell wrote that Oelke would “absolutely be announcing” races Friday night and would receive a standing ovation before the national anthem.

Posted: Jul 22, 2021 2:38 PM
Updated: Jul 23, 2021 6:33 AM

ALGONA, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa race track said Thursday that it will cut ties with an announcer who went on a racist rant against Black fans and athletes who kneel during the national anthem as a protest against racial inequality.

The Kossuth County Speedway in Algona, Iowa, said its leaders “do not condone” the comments made by the announcer before the races on July 15, but it called them an isolated incident.

The speedway and the county’s fair board said its management did not hear the announcer's comments when he said them, and that they only came to their attention through a social media post earlier Thursday.

In its statement, the speedway said the man who made the comments was filling in for its lead announcer and would not be employed at any future track events.

“It was not okay, and it will not be happening again,” the statement said. “Kossuth County Speedway looks forward to proving to our fans, drivers and crews that we can and will do better.”

The announcer’s comments were broadcast on FloRacing, which provides livestreams of racing events. FloRacing said in a statement Thursday that it had removed the event broadcast and that the announcer's “opinions and language do not reflect our core values or have a 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 “won’t stand for our flag” or who “take a knee” during the anthem.

“I’ve got four words for you: Find a different country if you won’t do it,” he said. “Get the hell out of dodge.”

Cheers in the crowd can be heard at that point. The announcer added that he was outraged that the NFL is considering playing the Black national anthem before games this season “for those folks, I guess the darker toned skin color, I’ll just say, Blacks.”

“They want a different national anthem and the NFL is thinking about doing it,” he said. “I just say shut the TVs off and let them play in front of nobody.”

The speedway didn’t name the announcer or respond to a request for his name. But Fairmont Raceway in Fairmont, Minnesota, identified him on its Facebook page as its longtime track announcer, Lon Oelke.

Fairmont Raceway promoter Jon McCorkell wrote that Oelke would “absolutely be announcing” races Friday night and would receive a standing ovation before the national anthem. McCorkell added that he agreed “with all of Lon’s comments and opinions” and several commenters chimed in with praise for Oelke.

A listed phone number for Oelke was disconnected, and he didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry sent through Facebook Messenger.

 

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 690391

Reported Deaths: 8104
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1417751856
Ramsey59044950
Dakota52670498
Anoka48579482
Washington30969309
Stearns25163241
St. Louis20636336
Scott19872145
Wright18754163
Olmsted16057111
Sherburne13701104
Carver1224752
Clay926795
Rice9192121
Blue Earth881947
Crow Wing7905102
Kandiyohi749389
Chisago722958
Otter Tail678794
Benton6567101
Mower569138
Winona561352
Goodhue556680
Douglas541684
Itasca526471
Beltrami516972
McLeod512064
Steele510721
Isanti495670
Morrison472463
Nobles452950
Becker443759
Polk438675
Freeborn433838
Lyon398754
Carlton394459
Nicollet384047
Pine378426
Mille Lacs359360
Brown353044
Cass350635
Le Sueur344729
Todd327334
Meeker310249
Waseca294525
Martin267933
Wabasha24654
Dodge24575
Hubbard236141
Roseau234824
Houston206816
Redwood203542
Renville202448
Fillmore200210
Pennington193022
Wadena188926
Faribault182225
Sibley178410
Cottonwood178324
Chippewa172639
Kanabec166729
Aitkin156838
Watonwan156511
Rock140719
Jackson135112
Pope13468
Yellow Medicine126620
Pipestone125326
Koochiching121919
Stevens121511
Swift118819
Murray116010
Marshall105318
Clearwater104818
Lake92821
Wilkin90214
Lac qui Parle86824
Mahnomen7059
Big Stone6964
Grant6958
Norman6699
Lincoln6554
Kittson53522
Unassigned51793
Red Lake4927
Traverse4315
Lake of the Woods4114
Cook2150

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 435755

Reported Deaths: 6339
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk67341672
Linn25698353
Scott22828261
Black Hawk19121334
Woodbury16940233
Johnson1659690
Dubuque14547218
Pottawattamie13058183
Dallas12746102
Story1187148
Unassigned93740
Warren685993
Webster6304102
Cerro Gordo6212102
Clinton620097
Des Moines594482
Muscatine5781108
Marshall564280
Sioux542775
Jasper516575
Lee511078
Wapello4993128
Buena Vista472942
Marion449083
Plymouth434083
Henry339940
Jones331158
Bremer325365
Crawford321644
Carroll317053
Washington315754
Benton312656
Boone308736
Mahaska275453
Dickinson270846
Kossuth251471
Jackson246044
Clay245729
Tama238273
Delaware234643
Buchanan233938
Hardin230847
Page221624
Cedar220525
Fayette220345
Wright217641
Winneshiek215937
Hamilton211752
Harrison198875
Clayton194458
Madison193820
Butler188836
Floyd187742
Mills185224
Poweshiek181036
Cherokee179440
Iowa176425
Allamakee176252
Lyon174441
Jefferson169138
Calhoun168313
Hancock167335
Winnebago164231
Grundy158835
Cass155556
Louisa154949
Shelby151739
Appanoose151249
Emmet149541
Franklin148524
Humboldt147226
Sac144722
Union144237
Mitchell141643
Guthrie138132
Chickasaw137518
Palo Alto131124
Clarke125024
Montgomery122239
Keokuk116232
Howard115622
Monroe114033
Ida107538
Davis103125
Pocahontas99023
Greene98012
Adair95334
Monona94733
Lucas94523
Worth9268
Osceola83717
Decatur74510
Fremont74111
Taylor72412
Van Buren70919
Wayne65123
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