Iowa racetrack announcer fired for ‘darker-toned skin’ rant

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An Iowa racetrack announcer is out of a job after ranting against fans and athletes with “darker-toned skin” who refuse to stand for the national anthem — telling them to “find a different country.”

Video posted to Twitter Thursday captured the July 15 tirade by the fill-in announcer, identified in reports as Lon Oelke, telling a crowd at the Kossuth County Speedway in Algona that he had a “social service” message to share.

“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,” Oelke told the fans, some of whom started cheering.

“Get the hell out of Dodge,” he continued. “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 all right, well, I don’t know, you just don’t have a right.”

Oelke then turned his attention to the NFL’s plan to play “Lift Every Voice and Sing” — unofficially known as the “black national anthem” — before some games this upcoming season.

“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,” Oelke said. “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.”

Racetrack officials condemned the rant in a statement Thursday while saying the fill-in announcer would not be returning.

“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,” the statement read. “We acknowledge that though this is an isolated incident, that does not make it okay.”

The statement did not identify the announcer and the racetrack said it would not comment further on the matter.

“Kossuth County Speedway looks forward to proving to our fans, drivers and crews that we can and will do better,” officials said.

Fairmont Raceway in Minnesota identified the announcer on its Facebook page as its track commentator, the Associated Press reported. The post was no longer visible on the page early Friday.

A promoter at Fairmont Raceway, Jon McCorkell, wrote in a comment that Oelke would be getting the “loudest standing ovation” when he announces races there Friday, a screenshot shows.

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