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‘It Will Not be Happening Again’: Iowa Race Track Issues an Apology After Fill-In Announcer Goes on Racist Tirade About Black National Anthem and Kneeling

A fill-in Iowa auto racing announcer is out of a job after going on a racist tirade toward Black athletes and fans who kneeled during the national anthem to protest against racial inequality and police brutality. The man was also angered by NFL’s pending decision to play “Lift Every Voice and Sing” also known as the Black national anthem, at future events. 

The Kossuth County Speedway in Algona, Iowa, released a statement denouncing the July 15 incident in a post uploaded to Twitter on Thursday, July 22, writing that it did not “condone the comments made by the fill-in announcer.” It continued, “We do not tolerate discrimination at our racing events and welcome race fans of all color, gender, religion, and creed to join our racing family. We also want to clarify that these comments were not made by Chad Meyer, the usual track announcer at KCS.”

The organization later revealed that the announcer, who was later identified by on Facebook as Lon Oelke, would no longer be invited back to work any events in the future. The statement concluded by stating that they would not further speak on the incident, expressing that “it was not okay, and it will not be happening again.” However, they added, “Kossuth County Speedway looks forward to proving to our fans, drivers, and crew that we can and will do better.”

Oelke’s diatribe over the public address system included statements condemning people who “won’t stand for our flag.” He also said things like, “I’ve got four words for you: Find a different country if you won’t do it” and “Get the hell out of Dodge.”

According to NBC News, Oelke later addressed the Black national anthem. “For those folks, I guess the darker-toned skin color, I’ll just say, Blacks,” Oelke began. “They want a different national anthem, and the NFL is thinking about doing it.” He added, “I just say shut the TVs off and let them play in front of nobody.”

His comments were not only broadcast on FloRacing, which provides live streams of racing events, but it also was uploaded to Twitter. In a statement on Thursday, FloRacing said it removed the audio and that the announcer’s “opinions and language do not reflect our core values or have a place on our platform.”

Still, Oelke garnered applause from fans in the stands who heard the remarks. As news of Oelke’s comments spread it was Fairmont Raceway promoter Jon McCorkell who identified him on Facebook as that track’s regular announcer. McCorkell supported the controversial statements and said Oelke would “absolutely be announcing” races Friday night and would receive a standing ovation before the national anthem.

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