Mesut Özil. Photo: DPA
While I don’t believe what Mesut Özil did was smart, the deed is done. The star footballer didn’t think anything of having his photo taken with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, a month before he was due to represent the German national team in the 2018 World Cup.
Born in Germany to Turkish parents, the midfielder refrained from immediately commenting on the controversial photos. Instead he chose to do so after Deutschland crashed out of the World Cup in the group stage and the tournament ended.
In a series of tweets responding to the nationwide backlash, Özil announced his retirement from international football after criticism of his performance, citing “racism and disrespect” from the media, fans, politicians and the high-profile German football federation.
“I am German when we win but I am an immigrant when we lose,” Özil said, before going on to question, “I was born and educated in Germany, so why don’t people accept that I am German?”