So, part III of the press release dropped from Mesut and he dropped the QUIT bomb on the German national team.
It’s very sad. His PR team has done an excellent job in conflating two issues for me. Firstly, racism from the right wing, which is particularly grim when the attacks come from a country most Europeans hold on a pedestal for their welcoming attitude and strong stance on integration. Secondly, posting a photo with a despotic leader.
There’s been some great writing on this topic. Rapha H made the point that sports stars who have bravely spoken out against Turkish rule have faced ramifications with their families. Turkish basketball player Enes Kanter said Erdogan is ‘the Hitler of our times.’ Turkey lobbied America to extradite him to face a 4-year prison sentence. Not only that, they also targeted his dad with an arrest warrant. Hakan Sukur is a man in exile in California in a slightly darker story where he was aligned to Gulenists who were blamed for a coup against Erdogan. When he didn’t renounce his allegiance, he was banished and his father imprisoned.
Maybe Mesut felt he had to take the picture, only he will know that. I guess you make the decision which side of history you want to stand on. He’s made his from a position of influence as a German immigrant (Merkel is his leader), other stars with a more direct link to the country made theirs and paid the price, but will live with the knowledge they stood up for their country. Also worth noting you can respect your ancestry without standing with a vicious tyrant.
Anyway, it’s sad that Ozil was hounded out of his national team. When history looks back on the journalists who sought to divide countries by picking on its immigrants, I hope it is cruel. We’re no better. Raheem Sterling was ravaged in the build-up to the World Cup. It was only the intervention of the fans that stopped a majority of the ill-will. Which is something special in my opinion. There’s a lot of talk it was Southgate that heeled the press wounds, maybe partly, but for me it was the fans utter disgust at the attacks on the team and the players that kept the rabble in check.
That said, caving to the racists sets a precedent. That’s a victory for online hounding. A real shame for the German immigrants coming through that needed a bit of leadership. Hopefully, the whole thing shames the German FA into taking necessary measures to protect players… then we’ll see the return of Mesut. I guess that’s dependent on how forgiving the German fan is feeling with regards to a photo that shits on their values.
Another hot button topic whilst I’m here. Karius is having a preseason disaster. His confidence is shot to pieces. I was a goalkeeper. A shit one. If you drop a howler, your mates are all disgusted, you’re nervous, every ball that comes near you is like a grenade. You have to work through it and build your confidence. It’s hard at Sunday league level. Harder as a pro. But that’s what you’re paid to do. You are where you are because of your mental resilience.
For all the amateur head doctors out there, stop saying he’s suffering mental illness. Stop saying he needs to go to rehab. Stop saying he should be dropped. You don’t know him, his state of mind, or what he’s going through. He’s in the top 0.0001% of keepers who made the grade, he’s a fighter, he’s resilient, he’s an athlete, those are all facts. No one at that level wants three months off. He’ll be desperate to find that form. I am all for deeper conversations about depression and anxiety, but I am not for projecting these issues on players who haven’t asked for that treatment. We’re layering a societal taboo on a sports player who is going through a confidence crisis because it feels contemporary to do so. I think that’s unfair without consent.
Finally, some are suggesting Raul S might take over from Ivan G if our CEO ducks out in September. The thought being that maybe he’s the succession plan. I’m not so sure here, Raul’s corp background at Nike was sales, marketing and Barca merch. Not normally where you seek a new CEO. Ivan is a lawyer, lots of CEOs come from finance or product. But we’ll see, I think a lot of City’s backroom guys are exNike. Tom Fox was also exNike, though the Villa project didn’t exactly go to plan.
Right, that’s enough from me today.
See you in the comments.