A race track in southern Minnesota is under scrutiny following a controversy involing its longtime lead announcer.
Lon Oelke is the voice of Fairmont Raceway, which is located in Martin County.
On Thursday, July 15, he was filling in at Kossuth County Speedway in Algona, Iowa, when he made racist remarks that soon went viral on social media.
Before the races started that night, Oelke railed against athletes who kneel during the national anthem and the NFL's recent decision to play "Lift Every Voice and Sing" — a 1900 composition considered the "Black national anthem" — before its games next season.
During the monologue in question, he described the song as being “for those folks, I guess the darker toned skin color, I’ll just say, Blacks.”
"Here's our social service announcement if you won't stand for our flag, if you're going to take a knee... I got four words for you: find a different country. If you won't do it, get the hell out of Dodge," Oelke also said.
You can hear the commentary in the video below:
The Fairmont Raceway's response to the ensuing fallout was this now-deleted social media post, penned by race track promoter Jon McCorkell:
Noting that Oelke had been announcing at Fairmont for "many years," McCorkell said he does "agree with all of Lons (sic) comments and opinions."
"He will absolutely be announcing tomorrow night," the promoter promised.
In a followup comment, McCorkell said that Oelke would receive "the loudest standing ovation," according to the Globe Gazette.
Neither Oelke nor McCorkell has responded to the paper's request for comment.
Fairmont Raceway has been a local institution since the mid-1960s, and according to its website, is known as "the fastest 1/2 mile track in the Midwest."