Zsolt Petry, goalkeeping coach from the Bundesliga football team Hertha BSC, was fired after he made critical comments on star goalie Péter Gulácsi’s support for rainbow families and on the subject of migration. The coach’s dismissal generated outcry, with many Hungarian politicians calling for Petry’s right to freedom of expression.
German Bundesliga team Hertha BSC parted ways with its Hungarian goalkeeping coach after he voiced his immigration-critical stance and criticized star goalie Péter Gulácsi for his open support for rainbow families in an interview. The football club announced its decision, emphasizing its commitment to diversity and tolerance- values which, according to Hertha, were not reflected in Petry’s statements.
In reaction to the coach’s dismissal, Family minister Katalin Novák said on social media: “we see more and more frequently that those who profess to be liberals persecute dissenting opinions.”
Interestingly, Hertha said Gulácsi was free to express his opinion, but Petry was fired for the same reason, she added.
Novák writes that she is witnessing more and more conservative opinions being persecuted and sanctioned.
True liberals should protest the loudest against this. I believe in freedom of opinion and I am outraged by the terror of opinion, whether it be on the left or on the right,”
Máté Kocsis, the leader of the ruling Fidesz parliamentary group, urged others to stand up for the Hungarian goalkeeper. “It is unacceptable that it is not the knowledge and skill that matters, but the unconditional service of idiotic liberal propaganda,” he wrote.
In a sardonic Facebook post, Foreign minister Péter Szijjártó also reflected on Petry’s sacking.
“Dear Vera Jourová, Didier Reynders, Frans Timmermans, Judith Sargentini, and every other liberal European politician who specializes in unscrupulous lecturing on the subject of freedom of expression! In Germany, a man was fired from his job because he expressed his opinion. About migration and family. Where are you now? When are you going to protest? When will you initiate proceedings and under what article?,” Szijjártó wrote.
Independent MP János Bencsik very bluntly wrote that “Hrutka was finished off by Orbán’s party-state, while Petry by the Western ’tolerance.’ None of them respect freedom of opinion.”
In a comment he poignantly added: “This here is the brave new world of Orwell where people fight for tolerance with exclusion and for freedom of speech with silencing.”
Even the Foundation for Rainbow Families that launched the “family is family” campaign expressed its regret that Zsolt Petry had lost his job at Hertha.
In a Facebook post they wrote that “it would be important to see clearly what was left out of the interview with him, which led him to request clarification.”
“But we think everyone has the right to express their opinion. The ‘family is family’ campaign was specifically launched to talk about the situation of the many Hungarian families who are stigmatized and adversely affected by the amendments to the law passed before Christmas last year,” they wrote in the post.
“And dialogue also includes times – and in many cases it is most useful – when we disagree with each other.”
In the featured photo: Fidesz group leader. Photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI