We enjoy Mesut Özil as a soccer player. He is one of the most talented and creative players in the world. He is controversial because of his behavior on and off the pitch. He hates to shoot on goal even more than he loves to make the amazing assist. His relationship, or lack of it, is one of the reasons that Unai Emery is now the former coach of Arsenal. It has been a dark time for us Arsenal fans. And we get Manchester City shortly. Update: we are down three at halftime.
Mesut plays(ed?) internationally for Germany but he has Turkish heritage too and is a Muslim. He has been in the news recently for commenting on both China and his fellow Muslims as reported by the English newspaper The Mirror:
[Mesut] took to social media to add his voice to the wave of international outrage about the treatment of the Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority, in the north-western region of Xinjiang.
The Uighur population in the region has been subjected to a campaign of religious and ethnic persecution by the Chinese authorities, with claims that more than a million have been held in detention camps.
[Mesut said] “But Muslims are silent. They won’t make a noise. They have abandoned them. Don’t they know that giving consent for persecution is persecution itself?”
We salute Mesut for bringing up this problem in China but especially for asking questions (as they say in soccer commentary) of his fellow Muslims. We generally don’t take cues from athletes and so on but to have one stand up to China and his fellow Muslims in one fell swoop is pretty amazing.
And what does his employer, Arsenal, think of his comments? The Mirror tells us,
“Regarding the comments made by Mesut … on social media, Arsenal must make a clear statement,” it read.
“The content published is [Mesut]’s personal opinion. As a football club, Arsenal has always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics.”
Arsenal has not covered itself in glory but it hasn’t gone NBA either. The Mirror also made the connection between this tweet by another Arsenal player and the Arsenal reaction to it:
On Thursday, the day of the general election in the UK, Hector Bellerin [a Spanish player for Arsenal] tweeted: “Young people across the world have a chance to change what the future can be. Today’s the chance for all the British people to influence what your future and those living here holds. #F**kBoris #GoVote.”
Arsenal did not issue a statement in response to Bellerin’s tweet.
Sidebar: We don’t know the answer but it is an interesting question. What will be the tax impact of Brexit on folks still in the European Union, like Hector, but working in the UK. End Sidebar.
Mesut twice spoke up when it would have been more popular to be quiet. Arsenal did fairly close to the opposite. Now if Mesut can get us some goals he could be a real role model for folks.