Iowa Racetrack Announcer Fired for Racist Tirade Before National Anthem
A racetrack announcer at Kossuth County Speedway in Algona, Iowa was fired after giving his thoughts on kneeling, the NFL, and "Lift Every Voice and Sing" prior to the national anthem at a recent race.
Prior to the start of races at Kossuth County Speedway on July 15th, a fill-in announcer used a moment prior to the national anthem to give a "social service announcement." That "announcement" included his personal thoughts on people kneeling for the national anthem, and the NFL playing "Lift Every Voice and Sing" prior to games this season.
A video posted by Josh Hanson on Twitter included the entire rant. Hanson, on Friday morning, has locked his Twitter account and the video has been deleted.
The Des Moines Register reports that the fill-in announcer is Lon Oelke. Oelke is the main racetrack announcer in Fairmont, Minnesota. Oelke's "announcement" was transcribed by the Des Moines Register and was as followed:
"Here's your social service announcement: If you won't stand for our flag if you're gonna take a knee if you're gonna feel you have rights — you have the right to remain silent for most of the time — but I got four words for you: Find a different country if you won't do it. Get the hell out of Dodge. Yes! A lot of people have sacrificed many things in their lives for us to be able to do these liberties. And if you feel that's alright, well I don't know, you just don't have a right. I've heard about all the stuff going on in the NFL and now they're going to have another national anthem for those folks, for the ... I guess ... darker-toned skin color, I'll just say Blacks. They want a different national anthem and the NFL is thinking about doing it. So I say shut the TVs off and let them play in front of nobody. Yes! That's my announcement. I salute the veterans coming up like I said the 29th, but we're going to get racing underway..."
Following the broadcast of the video and its trending on Twitter, Kossuth County Speedway issued a statement saying that the fill-in announcer will no longer be employed with the track and that the track welcomes all race fans of color, gender, religion, and creed.
FloRacing, the company that broadcasted the event, also released a statement condemning the announcer and removed the broadcast from its archive.
Oelke may have lost a position in Iowa but he hasn't lost everything. The Des Moines Register also says that Fairmont, Minnesota racetrack promoter Jon McCorkell will continue to employ Oelke. McCorkell added that Oelke would receive a "standing ovation" for his thoughts and opinions prior to the national anthem.