Terry Frei & The Denver Post

What was the accusation?

On May 28, 2017, Denver Post sports columnist Terry Frei, in response to Japanese driver Takuma Sato’s historic win at the Indianapolis 500, tweeted the following: “Nothing specifically personal, but I am very uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend.” Frei posted a formal apology that same day for his controversial comment not long before deleting said comment. The next day (May 29), The Denver Post released its own public apology for Frei’s comment, noting Frei’s effective termination from the news outlet.

Key Apologia Strategies:

Mortification (Both), Bolstering (Both) Corrective Action (The Denver Post)




Terry Frei:

“I fouled up. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said what I said when I said it. I should have known better and I regret it. I in no way meant to represent my employer and I apologize to The Denver Post.

“On Sunday, I was going down to Fort Logan National Cemetery to place flowers on the grave of and to salute my father, Jerry Frei, who spent the four-year gap between his sophomore and junior seasons at Wisconsin flying the F-5 unarmed version of the one-man P-38 fighter plane in the 26th Photo Squadron. (And I did make that visit.) He flew alone, or with a partner in a second plane, over Japanese targets in advance of the bombing runs. When Blake Olson of Channel 9 asked him about being unarmed, he laughed and said, “˜I had a pistol.’ He flew 67 missions, crossing the 300 combat hours threshold, and earned the World War II Air Medal three times. I have written much other material about American athletes in World War II. I researched and wrote quite graphically about the deaths of my father’s teammates, Dave Schreiner and Bob Baumann, in the Battle of Okinawa. I have the picture wallet containing photos of his family and girlfriend that Schreiner was carrying when he was killed. That is part of my perspective.

“I am sorry, I made a mistake, and I understand 72 years have passed since the end of World War II and I do regret people with whom I probably am very closely aligned with politically and philosophically have been so offended. To those people, I apologize. (In fact, the assumptions about my political and social leanings have been quite inaccurate.) I apologize to Takuma Sato. I made a stupid reference, during an emotional weekend, to one of the nations that we fought in World War II “” and, in this case, the specific one my father fought against. Again, I will say I’m sorry, I know better, and I’m angry at myself because there was no constructive purpose in saying it and I should not have said it, especially because The Denver Post has been dragged into this.”

The Denver Post:

“We apologize for the disrespectful and unacceptable tweet that was sent by one of our reporters. Terry Frei is no longer an employee of The Denver Post. It’s our policy not to comment further on personnel issues.

“The tweet doesn’t represent what we believe nor what we stand for. We hope you will accept our profound apologies.”


Allen, S., & Boren, C. (2017, May 30). Denver Post columnist fired after ‘disrespectful’ tweet about Japanese driver’s Indianapolis 500 victory. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2017/05/29/denver-post-sportswriter-issues-apology-after-facing-backlash-for-indy-500-tweet/?utm_term=.bca2b209b17a

Daniels, T. (2017, May 30). Terry Frei out at Denver Post after racial Takuma Sato tweet. Bleacher Report. Retrieved from http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2712515-terry-frei-apologizes-for-racial-takuma-sato-tweet-after-denver-post-firing

Tully, M., & Colacioppo, L.A. (2017, May 29). Denver Post statement on Terry Frei. The Denver Post. Retrieved from http://www.denverpost.com/2017/05/29/denver-post-statement-terry-frei/