Jens Lehmann off German club’s board in racism dispute

BERLIN — Former Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was removed from Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin’s supervisory board on Wednesday after sending a message to a Black former player that suggested he was only working as a TV commentator because of his race.

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 claimed it was meant to refer to Aogo raising Sky’s share or “quota” of the TV ratings.

Lehmann has also been a Sky commentator 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 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.

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