Iowa race track fires PA announcer after rant against 'folks' with 'darker-toned skin color'

·2 min read
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An Iowa race track has cut ties with a public address announcer after he delivered a racist rant over the speedway loudspeakers.

The Kossuth County Speedway in Algona announced its decision after video of the rant drew attention on social media. The incident happened on July 15. Per the Des Moines Register, the announcer introduced his pre-race speech as a "social service announcement."

'Get the hell out'

He then issued a diatribe against the NFL, kneeling during the national anthem to protest social injustice, the Black national anthem and people with "darker-toned skin color." Video of the rant has been removed from social media. But the Register took a transcript:

"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."

He was apparently referencing they hymn "Lift Every Voice and Sing," commonly known as the Black national anthem.

Track's statement

The Kossuth County Speedway announced its decision to fire the announcer on Thursday, a week after the incident. Per its statement, track management didn't hear the rant that drew cheers and applause from the crowd, according to the Register. It also stated that he wasn't the track's full-time announcer, but a fill-in.

"Unless you are sitting in the stands (which track management is not), the public address system is not easily heard," the statement reads. "Kossuth County Speedway and the Kossuth County Fair Board do not condone the comments made by the fill-in announcer. 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."

Report: Announcer's home track applauds rant

The speedway declined to name the announcer. But the Associated Press reports that the Fairmont Raceway in Fairmont, Minnesota identified the announcer on its Facebook page as its own Lon Oelke. Fairmont Raceway promoter Jon McCorkell wrote that he agreed “with all of Lon’s comments and opinions” and that Oelke would receive a standing ovation before his next appearance at the track. 

That post was eventually removed from the Fairmont Raceway's Facebook page. 

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