Oliver Bierhoff, director of national teams and the academy, spoke with DFB.de about discussions that were had after Emre Can and Ilkay Gündogan liked an Instagram post: "They are very sorry for their actions."
DFB.de: Mr. Bierhoff, on the morning after the game in Tallinn against Estonia, the team published a photo on their social media channels with a clear message. In the middle, Emre Can and Ilkay Gündogan are surrounded by their teammates, the coaching staff and others. How did the picture come about?
Oliver Bierhoff: It came about spontaneously. The entire team wanted to send a message. First of all about what we stand for. We don’t want to leave any room for interpretation. We stand for openness, diversity and tolerance and are against any form of violence and discrimination. And we wanted to make it clear that this statement applies to all of us, for each and every one of our colleagues, and that includes Emre and Ilkay. Both were sitting quietly in the dressing room after the game.
DFB.de: Despite the 3-0 success in Estonia?
Bierhoff: Yes, because they both liked a post by Cenk Tosun on Instagram when they know they shouldn’t. We talked to the players after the game. They also knew that it was a mistake, so they removed their likes before the game and explained themselves publically. Both of them made themselves available to the media after the game. They assured us that they did not want to make a political statement. Anyone who knows Emre and Ilkay knows that they are very sorry for their actions. We believe their explanations – they didn’t intend to make any sort of political statement here.
DFB.de: What did you say to the two?
Bierhoff: We told them what we expect from all our national players: They are role models, thousands of people want to be like them and follow them on their social media channels. You need to be aware of the great responsibility and impact that each of their statements and actions can have, especially on social networks. We ask for a certain degree of sensitivity and awareness from our players. We must continue to work and improve the awareness of our players when it comes to social networks. There should be no room for interpretation.