One German soccer player has quit the German National team citing racism as the key reason for his departure. Mesut Ozil is leaving the team after an enormous backlash from a photo the soccer star took with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The German athlete born to Turkish parents blames the media for the public perception of the photo that he claims had no political intentions.

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“Although the German media have portrayed something different, the truth is that not meeting with the President would have been disrespecting the roots of my ancestors,” Ozil said in a statement. “…having a picture with President Erdogan wasn’t about politics or elections. It was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country.”

According to reports, Germans on the far-right of the political spectrum, and right-wing conspirators suggested that Ozil’s photo with Erdogan was a depiction of his disloyalty to Germany.


In the statement, Ozil also mentions losing partnership opportunities and a trip he had planned to his former school that was canceled due to the controversy.

“Recently, I planned to visit my former school Berger-Feld in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, along with two of my charitable partners… the school told my management that they no longer wanted me to be there at this time, as they ‘feared the media’ due to my picture with President Erdogan…” Ozil said in the statement.

The headline from The Independent describes Ozil’s experience perfectly. “German when he won, Immigrant when he lost,” the headline reads.

The host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah recently spoke about situations similar to what Ozil is going through following remarks the comedian made on his Comedy Central show. On the 30-minute- parody news show, Noah acknowledged the African ethnicity of players on the French team which prompted the French ambassador to respond to Noah saying that these players are French.

In his response to the French ambassador, Noah says he acknowledges that the players are French, but he is at the same time acknowledging their African ethnicity. Noah also mentions the contradiction of when an immigrant does good for his or her home country they become they become citizens, but when if they do anything else they’re immigrants.