Bayern's Leon Goretzka making political splash in Germany
BERLIN (AP) - Germany's midfielder Leon Goretzka apparently does not believe in the increasingly outdated adage that sport and politics do not go together.
The 25-year-old from Bavaria-Munich has earned a reputation as an ethical activist for racism and anti-Semitism.
Now he is targeting the far-right political party Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative für Deutschland), which continues to speak out against coronavirus restrictions. Infection rates are higher across Germany, where the AfD enjoys its greatest support, especially in the East Saxon country.
'' The corona crisis in particular has made it clearer what kind of party it is. For me it is not an alternative, but a shame for Germany, ”said Goretzka on Sunday to the newspaper Welt am Sonntag.
SchandefuerDeutschland (Schande für Deutschland) was announced on Twitter in Germany late on Sunday, probably due to reactions from AfD members like Malte Kaufmann, who suggested Goretzka keep his mouth shut and play football.
Goretzka was also trendy on Monday.
Goretzka told Welt am Sonntag that he had been threatened by AfD supporters because of his earlier political statements.
`` Most of all, there was a lot more encouragement. You have to fight against this opposition to improve something. We have to make it clear to people that we live in a democracy that cannot be destroyed by anything or anyone. Hate comments let me position myself even more clearly, ”said Goretzka.
In March, Goretzka and Bayern teammate Joshua Kimmich started their "We Kick Corona" fundraising campaign to help social and non-profit organizations continue their work during the pandemic. They donated € 1 million ($ 1.2 million) and encouraged others to contribute more than € 5 million ($ 6.1 million) in total.
In August, the fund contributed 75,000 euros to the memorial for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp in Poland. The funds made possible an exhibition on athletes deported to Auschwitz and an international conference on remembrance, education and dealing with misconduct, which today includes racism and intolerance.
Goretzka said at the time that it is very important to us to ensure that the culture of memory is preserved even during the corona pandemic.
Goretzka had already visited the Dachau concentration camp monument near Munich in February and published pictures on social media with the hashtags "NieWider" (never again) and "NeverForget".
Last month, Goretzka met 99-year-old Holocaust survivor Margot Friedlander in Berlin. Friedländer is the author of a book entitled "Attempts to Make Your Life" based on her experiences as a child when she was arrested while fleeing in Berlin and taken to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in what is now the Czech Republic.
'' Despite all the suffering she has endured, she has remained such a positive person. She says she loves people, ”said Goretzka to Welt am Sonntag. '' After what Mrs. Friedlander went through, it's actually unimaginable. She even brought her Jewish star (yellow badge) with her. These are moments that literally freeze you. ''
Goretzka said Friedlander told him when he left that we must be the ones to make sure that something like this never happens again. That's her mission, that's why she fights every day. ''
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Ciaran Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP
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