April 7 – Bundesliga outfit Hertha Berlin have dismissed their goalkeeping coach Zsolt Petry over homophobic and anti-migrant comments that he made in an interview with Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet, citing that Petry’s values were incompatible with those of the club.
In an interview with the Hungarian daily on Easter Monday, Petry said that the EU’s immigration policy was the “moral downfall” of Europe and he criticised RB Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi for his public support of same-sex marriage.
“I don’t know what led Peter to stand up for people with homosexual, transvestite and other gender identities,” said Petry. “If I were him, as an athlete, I would concentrate on football and not comment publicly on socio-political issues.”
In December, Gulacsi took to social media to denounce a constitutional change that effectively banned adoption for LGBTQ couples in Hungary.
When probed about immigration, Petry’s responded: “I don’t understand how Europe could sink so morally low; the immigration policy is an expression of moral downfall. Europe is a Christian continent. Let us continue to live by the national values we have learned over the years.”
“The liberals inflate any contrary opinions. When you don’t think migration is good, because criminals have overrun the continent, then they accuse you of being a racist.”
Hertha Berlin however investigated Petry’s comments and the Bundesliga club decided to fire their goalkeeping coach on Tuesday. “We have always greatly appreciated Zsolt Petry’s work at Hertha BSC, and we have always found him to be open, tolerant and helpful,” wrote Hertha CEO Carsten Schmidt in a statement. “At no point has he ever acted in a homophobic or xenophobic manner. But we have determined that the comments made are not compatible with the values of Hertha BSC.”
Petry, who won 38 caps for Hungary as a goalkeeper and was voted Hungarian player of the year in 1990, apologised in the same statement, saying that he was “neither homophobic nor xenophobic” and adding “I regret my comments on immigration policy and would like to apologise to all those who seek refuge here and who I have offended.”
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1618095172labto1618095172ofdlr1618095172owedi1618095172sni@o1618095172fni1618095172