Malatyaspor players show support for Mesut Ozil with anti-racism T-shirts

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Players for Malatyaspor, a team in Turkey’s Super Lig, wore shirts in support of former Germany international Mesut Ozil before their friendly on Saturday.

Ozil, who was born in Germany but has Turkish heritage, accused the German football federation and president Reinhard Grindel of racism when he decided to quit international competition last month.

The shirts, worn before the 2-1 victory against second-division side Gazisehir Gaziantep, featured a photo of Ozil’s face with the phrase “We are all you” printed above it and “Say no to racism” below it.

“Our players wanted to show they support Mesut Ozil,” the club wrote on Instagram.


A post shared by Ben Malatyaspor’luyum (@ben_malatyasporluyum) on Aug 4, 2018 at 9:10am PDT

The Arsenal midfielder had been the centre of a debate for over two months after he and Germany teammate Ilkay Gundogan took a photo with Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in mid-May.

There has been little support for Ozil from his former international teammates. Germany captain Michael Neuer said that “we accept his decision,” but said he wanted to play with teammates who were proud to represent their country.

Forward Thomas Muller said in a brief statement to reporters last week that “there can be no talk of racism in sport and in the national team.”

Erdogan, meanwhile, condemned the “unacceptable” treatment of Ozil by the DFB following the player’s announcement.

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