Liverpool newspaper sparks outrage after comparing RB Leipzig to the Nazis for not selling Naby Keita – The Independent
The piece, published in the Liverpool Echo and written by columnist Derek McGovern, entitled “Who in God’s name are Leipzig? – the kind of club who knock Everton out of a Europa League qualifier before finishing bottom of their group”, was published in the ‘Anfield Extra’ section of the website on Monday.
A section of the piece on Liverpool’s continued pursuit of Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita – which has now been edited out – drew widespread criticism.
“[RB Leipzig] are hated in Germany because they are designed for profit rather than football. In fact they are the most hated outfit in Germany since the SS,” it read.
“Liverpool have made two bids for Keita and the only response they got from Leipzig was: “Show me your papers.”
The Schutzstaffel, more commonly known as the SS, were a key force within Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime who ruled through terror and oversaw concentration camps during the Second World War.
After readers of the column complained about the content on social media, the passage referring to the SS was removed from the piece.
However, screenshots of the offending section had already been shared widely on social media, and as of Tuesday afternoon Google search results were still displaying the reference.
Readers of the piece also complained that another passage, referencing an outbreak of Ebola in Keita’s native Guinea, was offensive.
It read: “Guinea is one of those places you are vaguely aware exists but you could never imagine yourself visiting. A bit like Goodison.
“It is the world’s second-largest producer of bauxite. I will let you know which country is the largest producer of bauxite just as soon as I find out what bauxite is.
“Guinea is of course in Africa, just above Sierra Leone and just below £1.06p. It doesn’t strike me as a hotbed of football. In 2014 there was an outbreak of Ebola in Guinea which led the government to ban the sale and consumption of bats, so I suspect it’s no longer a hotbed of cricket either.”
When contacted by The Independent, the editor of the Liverpool Echo apologised for the comment and said a review into the newspaper’s vetting procedures would now be carried out.
“We sincerely apologise for any offence caused,” Alastair Machray said. “The reference was in poor taste and unfortunately it got through our vetting procedures. These procedures will be reviewed to ensure this cannot happen again.”
The article was widely criticised, with a number of readers complaining about the nature of the content in the comments section below. One user commented: “To compare EB Leipzig with the SS was bad taste to say the least. How did this get past the subeditors?” “Thousands lost their lives to Ebola and you just made it a joke,” added another.
A number of readers meanwhile complained about the article on social media. “Can’t comprehend someone thinking it’s okay to compare a football team with war criminals who were responsible for the Holocaust,” wrote one Twitter user.