Reds against Racism - 17 powerful Bayern statements
Manuel Neuer: We have to live up to positive words
"It always sounds so positive that football brings people together. We also need to live up to those positive words with actions - we as in everyone who wants to be part of football: players, coaches, officials, helpers, fans. Anyone who doesn't want to live by that with us shuts themselves out. We footballers don't shut anyone out.
I grew up in Gelsenkirchen, where German miners used to live next door to migrant workers from half of Europe. They relied on each other – there was no other way. That's how I was brought up.
In my youth, we'd meet up in the evenings at pizzerias or kebab shops. Nationality didn't matter to us, it was about belonging to a club.
I'm against any form of racism. I stand for tolerance and coexistence."
Joshua Kimmich: Racism concerns us all
"We are currently experiencing a time in which racism is on the rise. We must take a stance against it.
Racism concerns us all. My image of Germany is that diversity and tolerance are practised here.
This image should not and cannot be papered over because it is part of our values, our normality. For me there is no other image, no other vision, no place for anything else. Germany can be multicultural. Because Germany is multicultural."
Lineth Beerensteyn: Diversity broadens horizons
"It is important that we all show that it doesn't matter what colour a person is, whether you are a man or a woman, what religion you are and where you come from. At home in the Netherlands we say: we can all learn from each other. We are all equal, and there is no room for discrimination – neither on the football pitch nor in society. Diversity broadens horizons."
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: Anyone who closes their mind is at the wrong club
"Every case of racism is one too many. Our stadiums are repeatedly misused by individuals as a platform. They must not give the impression that the majority thinks this way. It is high time to send a clear signal. We are the biggest club in the world – we can be expected to show our colours. FC Bayern stands against racism, anti-Semitism, exclusion of any kind and violence. Our club lives this world view – and we demand it. Anyone who closes their mind to it is clearly at the wrong club."
Thomas Müller: We never tire of raising awareness
"In a functioning society, you cannot always speak of an open world and great values only if it brings you advantages. It is about sensible cooperation, a common exchange, mutual respect and tolerance. We never tire of raising awareness of the issue of racism."
Uli Hoeneß: People trivialise the Nazi era
"I said during my farewell at our AGM that FC Bayern should be a tanker that mustn't drift to the left and certainly not to the right. It must steer straight through troubled waters and have room for everyone. While watching a recent documentary to mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, I had tears in my eyes. It's inconceivable that such atrocities were possible in Germany. I find it just as incomprehensible that we're now experiencing cases of xenophobia again. It's incomprehensible to me that there are still people here today who trivialise Germany's past and what happened during the Nazi era. That cannot be the future."
Alphonso Davies: I know: football knows no borders
"My parents fled from Liberia, I was born in Ghana, grew up in Canada and now feel at home in Munich. That's my story: from a refugee baby to a player for a top club in the Champions League. I know that football knows no borders. Racism exists everywhere in the world – and we have to stand up against it. Football means we come together, with our different colours, with different religions, from different nations, to enjoy this wonderful game together. Racism has no place in football."
Thiago: Democracy means tolerance
"I have unfortunately experienced racism a number of times in my life – and never understood it. I ask these people: why do you feel that way? I do not think like that. I do not live like this. You have to have respect. Racism makes me angry and sad. Democracy means living together in tolerance. It's about not excluding anyone. It's about letting everyone participate in our world."
Serge Gnabry: I feel comfortable in my own skin
"We're all on the earth for the same reason.It disappoints me when people these days still think that having a different skin colour means a person is different or even worse. Germany should be better than that, the world should be better – we should be better. My father comes from the Ivory Coast – and I'm mega proud of my roots! I enjoy visiting my African homeland: the people, the culture, the vibe there, it all does me good and enriches my life. The more people trust in each other, stand up and don't look the other way, the better. That's the next step in dealing with racism. The aim is for it not to happen at all anymore in our world, in our society. I feel comfortable in my own skin."
Niklas Süle: It's individual idiots
"Let's talk about racism: football is at the heart of society. Players, coaches, clubs, fans – together we can have a big impact. With racism it's individual idiots, a minority. They mustn't be allowed to get bigger. It's absurd that racism still exists in the 21st century."
Hasan Salihamidžić: It's only the person that matters
"I came to Germany by bus from Bosnia as a young refugee – and felt at home from the very first minute. I was never excluded. Racism is totally alien to me. My personal experience is that Germany and the people who live here are very fair. They give you the chance to become part of society. If you come here, learn the language and adapt to the culture, they welcome you as if you were born here. That's how I was able to find a new home here. That's how Germany should be. Skin colour, nationality, religion – it doesn't matter. It's only the person that matters."
Leon Goretzka: I just don't want to believe it
"Racism has been on the rise in our country for some time now. This trend worries me. Show civil courage, put racists in their place – in the stadium and in everyday life! Münster was the perfect example: when my former schoolmate Leroy Kwadwo was abused, the fans' reaction was first-class. You can't look away, you can't block it out. In politics you have to pick up the protest voters, see where their protest comes from and solve their problems. If you talk to each other, you can develop something together.After the past that we Germans have experienced, I simply don't want to believe that racism is spreading again in our country. We all have to stop that."
Danilo Barthel (Basketball): Home is where one feels free
"There are more and more examples of racism in public – and this is the wrong direction for Germany to be heading. That cannot be our way. Incidents also occur time and again in basketball, although in the past this was unthinkable, especially given the tradition and self-image of our sport. Germany is a tolerant and open country where we should treat all people equally and not exclude anyone. Home is where I feel comfortable, where one feels good and free. It's okay to be proud of your own culture, but that doesn't exclude opening up to others. Everyone should feel good and free in Germany. We are a colourful mix."
Herbert Hainer: There's no excuse for racism
"I thought racism had ebbed away from the 90s until a few years ago, basically disappeared – but unfortunately it is very present again today, not only in sport but in society and politics, where there are more and more extreme parties. At FC Bayern, we have the most diverse nations in our team – and they all play together, stand side by side, win and lose together. I think that's actually a wonderful mirror of the world. In the 60s, the boxing heavyweight world champion Muhammad Ali impressed me when he stood up against racism. He said: "I am America. I'm the part you don't recognise." Strong words. And, unfortunately, highly topical today. Some Germans, too, obviously have to learn again to recognise every fellow human being as a part of our society. There's no excuse for racism."
Alex King (Basketball): Guys, racism went out a long time ago!
"When I was first confronted with racism as a young person, I didn't know how to deal with it. Apart from my parents, I had no one to talk to about it. You feel alone, lonely. My parents told me: "Don't listen to it! Just keep walking!" But after a while I realised: You have to make a statement. I'm German, I play for my country, have done for many years – open your eyes! We live in an enlightened, mature society in which every individual should have the right to have a say. This includes going through the world attentively – and engaging in discussions when you think it's necessary. Racism does not belong in our society. We are all multicultural. Guys, I'm telling you: racism went out a long time ago!"
Lina Magull: I find new things enriching
"I've been playing professional football for eight years now and have already met teammates from many different nations. I find new things enriching. Today it should be a matter of course to accept every person as they are. There are no differences. It's about living with one another, not against one another. Only in this way can the world function. That racism is emerging in Germany is inexplicable to me. It is also only a minority – but if it makes itself heard loudly, we must answer. Some hide in larger groups or in the anonymity of the internet. But the majority of Germans think differently. Every single person should show that."
Oliver Kahn: It's a feeling of humiliation
"Racism is not a problem specific to football. It's a problem in society, but one which is often seen in stadiums. Lots of people watch FC Bayern – not just our own fans, but also people who otherwise aren't on our side. The wonderful thing about football is the unifying power it has – and we should all be united in the fight against racism. It's important to us as FC Bayern to adopt a clear stance on these issues – and the subject of racism is particularly close to my heart. I can sympathise very well with players who are treated with hostility from the stands. It's a feeling of abasement, humiliation and marginalisation, and we don't want to see that on the football field, just as we don't in everyday life. So: Reds against racism! In the stadium, on the streets, everywhere!"
All photos by Fritz Beck
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