Football club Hertha Berlin sack coach over homophobic and anti-migrant comments

The German top flight football club terminated Zsolt Petry's contract with immediate effect as the comments did 'not correspond to the values ​​of Hertha BSC'.

A man in a cap hitting a football

Caution, contains offensive language. Football club Hertha Berlin have sacked their goalkeeping coach, Zsolt Petry, over comments he made about LGBTQ+ people and immigration in an interview with Hungarian newspaper, Magyar Nemzet.

In the interview, Petry questioned fellow Hungarian and RB Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi for comments he made in support of LGBTQ+ people.

“I don’t know what could’ve motivated Peter to stand 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 sociopolitical issues,” he continued before publicly commenting himself on sociopolitical issues.

In February, Gulacsi had spoken up to “stand for rainbow families” after a law was passed in his homeland that barred unmarried couples from adopting children. This effectively banned LGBTQ+ couples from adoption as same-sex marriage is not legal in Hungary. “All people have the right to equality,” Gulacsi said on Facebook. “The same way every child has the right to grow up in a happy family, make that family of any gender, of any colour, of any religion.”

Petry, who was named Hungarian Footballer of the Year in 1990, also criticised the EU’s migration policies. “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,” he continued. “If you don’t consider migration good because a horrifying number of criminals has swept Europe, you’re branded a racist.”

Hertha Berlin responded by sacking the coach with immediate effect. 

“Hertha BSC signed the Diversity Charta for German companies and actively promote values such as diversity and tolerance, because these values are important to us,” a club statement read. “The remarks made by Zsolt Petry as a club employee in the public eye do not respect these values.”

In the same statement Petry said he regretted his comments on immigration and apologised “to all those seeking refuge here who I have insulted.” He did not mention LGBTQ+ people.

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