Jens Lehmann kicked off German club’s board after ‘racist’ text




Former German national team goalkeeper Jens Lehmann arrives before the Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City at the Signal Iduna Park stadium in Dortmund, Germany, Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)

BERLIN (AP) — Former Arsenal and Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was removed from Hertha Berlin’s supervisory board on Wednesday after sending what the Bundesliga club called a racist text message to a Black former player.

Dennis Aogo published a screenshot of Lehmann’s WhatsApp message asking whether Aogo was “actually your quota Black person.” Aogo, a former Germany player, was working for broadcaster Sky covering the Champions League semifinal game between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.

“WOW are you serious?” Aogo wrote on Instagram. “This message was probably not meant for me.”

Lehmann said on Twitter that he apologized to Aogo for the “impression” given by the message. He added that Aogo was “knowledgeable” in his work as a TV analyst and said he raised Sky’s share or “quota” of the ratings.

Lehmann has also been a Sky analyst but will no longer appear on its coverage of games, Sky Germany executive vice president for sports Charly Classen said on Wednesday.

Andreas Fritzenkötter, a spokesman for Hertha investor Lars Windhorst, told the dpa news agency that Lehmann was no longer an adviser to Windhorst or his company’s representative on the supervisory board.

The club said Lehmann had expressed himself “in a racist way” in the message to Aogo.

“Such statements do not reflect in any way the values that Hertha BSC stands for and actively campaigns for,” club president Werner Gegenbauer said. “Hertha BSC distances itself from any form of racism.”

Lehmann had joined the Hertha supervisory board in May 2020 on behalf of Windhorst.

Hertha goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow welcomed the announcement that Lehmann was no longer involved with the club.

“We as a club, as Hertha, represent certain values. Those weren’t reflected in this message. Therefore, I think this step had to come,” Schwolow said.

Lehmann backstopped Arsenal’s “Invincibles” squad in 2003-04 and also played at Borussia Dortmund and Schalke. He made 61 appearances for Germany and retired in 2011.

Aogo, who was in Germany’s squad at the 2010 World Cup, retired last year.