Every now and then, I write satirical articles for Bavarian Football Works. It’s one of the perks that comes with running a “fan blog” that is not a straight news site.
This story is not one of those articles.
Sport Bild has, in all earnestness, conferred its award for “Gesture of the Year” on Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and TSG Hoffenheim owner Dietmar Hopp for “standing side by side against hate” when Bayern ultras unfurled banners branding Hopp a “Hurensohn” for his role in having Borussia Dortmund’s fans banned from the Rhein-Neckar-Arena for three years.
I wrote about the bizarre scene shortly after it happened, asking why Hopp was the first to benefit from the so-called “Three-Step Procedure” in response to abuse — and not a black player like Hertha Berlin’s Jordan Torunarigha who was brought to tears after Schalke fans hurled racist insults at him. (The steps are 1) stop the match, 2) suspend the match, 3) abandon the match.)
Sport Bild says of the scene in Hoffenheim, “It was a day of disgrace for German football: the game became secondary at the match between Hoffenheim and Bayern (0:6) on the 24th matchday. Munich fan groups almost caused the game to be abandoned: they lit pyrotechnics and tastelessly insulted Hoffenheim patron Dietmar Hopp. After an initial interruption, the referee Christian Dingert sent the teams to the locker room.
Bayern’s CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Hopp met in the corridor; they discuss. The solution: both teams stand in solidarity, come back, but stop playing. Rummenigge and Hopp stand side by side against hate. In the end, there was applause for Hopp from the whole stadium and the players.
You could be forgiven for forgetting Hopp entirely at this point in July. Even Bayern Munich sensed the incongruity of standing up for Hopp while ignoring the broader issue of racism and released their Rot gegen Rassismus (“Reds against Racism”) campaign soon afterward in early March.
Then the coronavirus pandemic shut down the entire Bundesliga and sports worldwide.
And then the Black Lives Matter protests in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of a police officer swept the United States — and Europe, and the world. Black players in the Bundesliga embraced the cause. Bayern Munich itself embraced the cause and added “Black Lives Matter” to their Rot gegen Rassismus T-shirts.
I leave you with this:
Not Sport Bild’s “Gesture of the Year”
- Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho. Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images
- Serge Gnabry. Photo by MATTHIAS HANGST/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
- Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram. Photo by Christian Verheyen/Borussia Moenchengladbach via Getty Images
- Borussia Dortmund’s Achraf Hakimi. Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images
- Hoffenheim’s Munas Dabbur. Photo by ANDREAS GEBERT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
- Mainz’s Kunde Malong. Photo by ALEXANDER HASSENSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
- Schalke’s Weston McKennie wearing a “Justice for George” armband. Photo by BERND THISSEN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
- Werder Bremen and Wolfsburg. Photo by PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP via Getty Images