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Coach Petry Claims Press Misrepresented His Comments

Hungary Today 2021.04.12.

Hungarian football coach, Zsolt Petry, fired by German football club Hertha BSC for controversial statements about migration and same-sex marriage, says the German press misinterpreted and took some of his comments out of context. Furthermore, he claims the publisher of the original interview, Magyar Nemzet, left out important parts of the script without prior consultation.

As we previously reported, Hungarian goalkeeping coach, Zsolt Petry, was recently fired from his job at German Bundesliga team Hertha BSC for his critical comments to Hungarian pro-government Magyar Nemzet about star goalie Péter Gulácsi’s support for rainbow families and the subject of migration.

Some saw Petry’s sacking as a violation of the right to freedom of speech- so much so that it even became a political issue in Hungary. A few days after his dismissal, Gergely Gulyás, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, questioned whether the rule of law is still in force in Germany, and added that totalitarianism once came out of Germany and that should not be repeated. Hungary’s official outrage was expressed when the German chargé d’affaires was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Budapest. A spokesman for the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs later rejected the Hungarian protest, ‘especially the remarks on national socialism.’

Foreign Ministry Summons German Diplomat over Hungarian Coach Petry's Dismissal
Foreign Ministry Summons German Diplomat over Hungarian Coach Petry's Dismissal

Hungary’s foreign ministry has summoned the German Embassy’s chargé d’affaires over German football team Hertha BSC firing Hungarian coach Zsolt Petry because of his recent remarks concerning migration and same-sex marriage. On Thursday, Foreign Ministry State Secretary, Levente Magyar, voiced the Hungarian government’s “shock” that anyone could face “existential retaliation in Germany for expressing their […]Continue reading

Following the incident, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) asked Petry, who said he regretted what had happened but thinks the German press mistranslated what he had said, while some of his comments were taken out of context, leading to misinterpretation.

Petry also told FAZ that Magyar Nemzet, the paper that published his interview, had changed the approved text and had left out one of his sentences without prior consultation.

The football coach finds it very upsetting that many people now consider him a homophobic racist.

“I have been in professional football for over 35 years, playing with homosexuals, Muslims, and Christians in many different countries, and I have always respected everyone. How could I be racist?”, he told FAZ.

Petry admits, however, that he made a mistake because he should have informed his football club of the upcoming interview, as this is the custom in the German first class.

Press Roundup: Diplomatic Row Between Hungary and Germany Over the Sacking of Coach Petry
Press Roundup: Diplomatic Row Between Hungary and Germany Over the Sacking of Coach Petry

The German Foreign Ministry has rejected Hungarian protests against the sacking of a Hungarian football coach in Berlin. Commentators’ opinions diverge on the rights and wrongs, but even opposition leaning columnists tend to believe that firing the coach was a disproportionate punishment. Hungarian press roundup by budapost.eu Background information: Zsolt Petry, the Hungarian goalkeeper-coach of Hertha […]Continue reading

On Monday, Magyar Nemzet responded to Petry’s accusation about the left-out sentences and published the section he objected to.

“Here is the last question of the interview with the full answer to it, the missing part in bold:

– Do you have a stance on social policy issues? You just mentioned the national side, do you sympathize with the conservative side?

– Totally. I do not even understand how Europe can morally sink as deep as it is now. Immigration policy for me is a manifestation of moral decline.  I’m not against Péter’s opinion, I can even imagine that a small child feels happy in a homosexual family. I just don’t want this to become the norm. Let us continue to live in Europe along national values ​​that we have learned over many years. Europe is a Christian continent, I am reluctant to watch the moral degradation sweeping across the continent. Liberals magnify counter-opinions: if you don’t consider migration good because Europe has been swarmed by an awful lot of criminals, you’re already being branded a racist. This is not allowed, the opinion of the other person is less often tolerated, especially if the person represents a conservative position.”

Magyar Nemzet stated that it had not censored, only edited the text, and it had been edited out because Zsolt Petry had already reacted to Péter Gulácsi’s statement in one of his previous answers.

In this answer, he is talking about European civilization and political issues; content-wise the reference to Péter Gulácsi does not fit here, they wrote.

According to the paper, this is the only reason why these two sentences were left out, the message of which was however preserved in the introduction of the article.

Magyar Nemzet stressed that they didn’t want to hide anything, and believed that when the article was published, even Zsolt Petry did not think that he would later be fired over the interview.

“On its part, Magyar Nemzet has closed the issue. It finds it unfortunate that Zsolt Petry has been fired by Hertha BSC. Everyone can interpret what happened however they want, yet the point is that an excellent football professional, a goalkeeper, has lost his job because of his opinion. ”

Featured photo via Youtube/DigiSport/Reggeli Start


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