Hundreds of German supporters took to the streets of Berlin to protest in support of Mesut Ozil. The supporters were wearing ‘I am Ozil’ T-shirts and flags of both Germany and Turkey were being raised.
Mesut Ozil announced his retirement from the Germany national football team citing ‘racism and disrespect’ due to his picture with Turkey President Recep Erdogan.
Ozil’s retirement statement included plenty of criticism towards DFB President Reinhard Grindel. However, the DFB denied his claims. However, the DFB did state that it could have done more to protect Ozil from all the abuse.
Ozil’s retirement was met by criticism by many including Bayern Munich President Uli Hoeness. Former Germany striker of Croatian descent Fredi Bobic also criticized his decision stating that his manner of retirement was ‘cowardly’.
Bobic said, “Ozil’s criticism of social media, especially in the direction of the German Football Association (DFB), is unbearable. This blanket charge of racism simply does not correspond to reality. He could have given an interview somewhere, live on TV. For us footballers, the rule is ‘be a man and stand up.'”
However, there were many who supported Ozil in his decision that included Turkey’s President Erdogan.