FAIRMONT, Minn. (AP) — A racetrack announcer who was fired by an Iowa track after a racist rant was back behind the microphone last weekend in southern Minnesota.
Lon Oelke announced a race at Fairmont Raceway on Friday — but not to the standing ovation that track promoter Jon McCorkell promised. McCorkell said Oelke was uncomfortable with that idea.
Still, McCorkell says Oelke has support in the area and he will stand by him.
Last week, the Kossuth County Speedway in Algona, Iowa, cut ties with Oelke after he went on a racist rant earlier this month against Black fans and athletes who kneel during the national anthem.
Oelke was not available for comment to the Star Tribune during Friday's race.
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.”