Lehmann sacked after leaked WhatsApp exposes racist comment to Sky pundit
Former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has been sacked by Hertha Berlin after appearing to accidentally send a racist WhatsApp to fellow pundit Dennis Aogo.
Aogo is a pundit for Sky Germany after hanging up his boots in the summer following a brief stint at Hannover 96. He also gained 12 caps for Germany during his international career.
Ahead of Sky Germany's coverage of Manchester City vs Paris Saint-Germain, for which Aogo worked, Lehmann sent the pundit a WhatsApp, likely for someone else, asking if he was the broadcaster's "token black man".
His message read: "Ist dennis eigentlich euer qotenschwarzer? [sic]". Which translates to: "Is Dennis basically your token black guy?"
Aogo shared a screenshot of the exchange on his Instagram, with the caption: "Wow dein ernst? Die nachricht war wohl nicht an mich gedacht!!!"
Which translates to: "Wow are you serious? The message was probably not meant for me."
The former Schalke and Hamburger left-back cum midfielder shared the screenshot late on Tuesday evening, after the game had concluded.
On Wednesday morning, Lehmann took to Twitter to apologise.
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He said: "In einer privaten Nachricht von meinem Handy an Dennis Aogo ist ein Eindruck entstanden für den ich mich im Gespräch mit Dennis entschuldigt habe. Als ehemaliger Nationalspieler ist er sehr fachkundig und hat eine tolle Präsenz und bringt bei Sky Quote."
Which translates to: "An impression has been given by a private message from my mobile phone to Dennis Aogo for which I apologised to Dennis about in a conversation. As a former national team player he is very expert, has great presence and brings ratings (Quote) to Sky."
He reiterated his apology in a statement to Bild and claimed to have phoned Aogo to apologise. He said: "Sie war überhaupt nicht so gemeint, sondern positiv. Da er als Sky-Experte fachkundig ist und in seinem Auftreten sehr stark. Und deshalb auch die Quote erhöht. Das wollte ich damit sagen, aber war von mir unglücklich ausgedrückt." Er nehme "die Verantwortung dafür."
Which translates to: "I've already phoned Dennis and asked him for forgiveness if what I said came over as disrespectful. It was not meant that way at all, it was meant positively. Because he is very knowledgeable and strong in his appearances as a Sky expert. And so he has increased the ratings. That's what I wanted to say, but I expressed it badly."
After hanging up his gloves in 2011, Lehmann himself often plies his trade as a pundit and has even done work with Sky Germany. Last year, he took up a position as member of Hertha BSC's supervisory board.
According to SportBild, Lehmann was relieved of his duties from the club.
Following his dismissal, Hertha tweeted: "Such statements are in no way representative of the values that Hertha BSC stands for. We distance ourselves from all forms of racism and welcome the action taken by TENNOR Holding."
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