Patrick Moster, a German cycling coach, is being sent home from the Tokyo Olympics after being captured by television cameras making a racist slur towards African athletes during a cycling event. He had called Eritrea and Algeria cyclists 'camel drivers' during the men's time trial on Wednesday.
German Olympic Sports Confederation confirmed this news today. Moster, the sporting director of the German cycling federation, has been summoned back to Germany after encouraging German rider Nikias Arndt with the words: "Get the camel-drivers! Get the camel-drivers!" These comments were in reference to Eritrea's Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier and Algeria's Azzedine Lagab.
Racist Words Captured in TV Cameras
TV cameras picked up Moster's comments. Reports say that Journalist Florian Nass, a commentator on the race for broadcaster ARD, immediately condemned Moster's remarks. "If I've really understood what he was shouting, that was totally wrong," said the TV commentator Florian Nass. "Something like that has no place in sport."
Arndt Distances Himself from Moster's Comments
Arndt expressed his views via Twitter and informed that the words of the sports director are not acceptable and he would like to distance himself from Moster's comments.
"I am appalled by what happened in today's Olympic road time trial," Arndt said on Twitter. He added that the remarks fell far short of the Olympics' â and his own â values of tolerance, respect and fairness.
Moster Says Sorry and Tells His Choice of words Was Wrong in the Heat of the Moment
Later on, Moster issued an apology via the DPA press agency in Germany.
"I was in the feed zone and cheered on Nikias Arndt. In the heat of the moment and with the overall burden that we have here at the moment, my choice of words was wrong," he said.
"I'm so sorry, I can only sincerely apologise. I did not want to discredit anyone. We ourselves have many friends with North African roots. As I said, I'm sorry."
However, it was not enough to keep Moster from being disciplined, reported USA Today.
"We remain convinced that his public apology for the racist remarks he made yesterday is sincere. With this derailment, however, Mr. Moster violated the Olympic values. Fair play, respect and tolerance are non-negotiable for Team D," Tokyo delegation leader Alfons HÃ¶rmann said in a statement.
Does an Apology hold any Value?
Many comments started to pile up on Twitter that condemned Moster's racist remarks. Some have demanded to impose a fine on him while some have said that it is completely unacceptable and an apology is not enough. One Twitter use wrote, "The apology isn't worth a damn, he knew exactly what he was saying". Another user wrote in a sarcastic way, "The World War 2 is long over and Germany lost the war."
Netizens called this incident as against the spirit of the game. Some described it as 'disguising' while others said that racism is common in sports and no concrete steps are being taken to address this issue. One Twitter user wrote, "Sport is a microcosm of society - reflecting its triumphs and its challenges - the very best and sadly the very worst. It can't be viewed in isolation."