Let’s put into perspective the average shot velocity of a professional soccer player. When a human being lifts, say, a 10 kilogram (about 22 pounds) box it puts 180 kilograms (nearly 400 pounds) of force on the spine. A professional soccer player’s strike travels around 30 meters per second, totaling around 1,200 pounds (544 kilograms) of force on the kick. They do that with astounding accuracy, hence they’re professionals. This is especially true of strikers, whose position’s name is synonymous with the action they’re best at. But, everybody loses at some point.
Winning the 2014 World Cup, Germany was slated to do much better than they did in 2018 and their performance was met with tragic, angering behavior from fans and team officials. One of Germany’s star attacking strikers announced that he’d be hanging up his jersey and leaving the German National Team. In a long statement via Twitter, he cited racism and discrimination against his Turkish heritage. In the wake of their early exit from the World Cup, a tournament meant to bring the international soccer community together, he’d been facing remarks blaming their tournament result on his being born in Turkey.
His statement cited vulgar, offensive language used by officials in the German Football Association (DFB) and “fans” at the level of international soccer tournaments. Enough was enough, and Germany lost a star.
“When high-ranking DFB officials treat me as they did, disrespect my Turkish roots and selfishly turn me into political propaganda, then enough is enough … Racism should never, ever, be accepted,” his statement read.
Ozil was harangued for meeting with President Erdogan of Turkey. He and another teammate of Turkish descent met with the Turkish president and took pictures with him out of respect for their own heritage. They were met with hostility during practice and during the World Cup from their own German fans. It’s incredible how humans can turn nitrogen, which makes up 79% of the atmosphere we breathe, into such wild hatred. Among those that spewed them were belligerent fans and German leaders alike. Shameful.
The saddening state of things as Ozil has experienced it is that when Germany would win, he was celebrated as German, but when they would lose, he was an immigrant and disparaged because of it. This past World Cup in Russia, Germany not making it past the first stage spurred much of the latter discriminatory behavior that ultimately caused his departure. It can only cause one to think that these thoughts have merely been
The World Cup began in the 1930s as a tournament played every four years to bring nations together in a competition for international soccer dominance. Meant as a unified gathering around common interest and competence in the sport, nearly a century has passed. Even so, racism and discrimination are still plaguing the sport at the international level. A story all too common around the world, Ozil is, unfortunately, not alone in his treatment. One can only hope that players voice their outrage at such treatment and hold their organizations and fan-bases accountable.