Can a Nazi's lover represent Germany?
Published: 7 Aug 12 13:16 CET | Print version
Ex-Olympic rower Nadja Drygalla made headlines when she left the Games because her boyfriend was a neo-Nazi. But many say it was unfair. Can athletes represent their country regardless of who they mix with? Have your say.
Drygalla, 23, left the London Olympic village last Friday after talks with the German Olympic federation director Michael Vesper about her relationship with neo-Nazi Michael Fischer, who once ran as a state candidate for the far-right National Democratic (NPD), but has since left the party.
While the Olympic federation did not know about her personal life, the German Interior Ministry did and even instructed the secret service to investigate her, but found no evidence that she was part of the far-right scene.
Yet it emerged Tuesday that the same ministry is considering putting an "extremism clause" in their criteria on whether sports federations be assigned public money, the Leipziger Volkszeitung daily said on Tuesday.
Vesper said that an internal intelligence service for the sporting world was not something that he would want, neither would checks on an athlete's personal beliefs.
Now some say that Drygalla was put under pressure too hastily by the media. The Tagesspiegel newspaper even spoke of a "witch hunt," while the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung said requiring athletes to lay open their private lives was "not tolerant, but totalitarian."
Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière publicly also supported the rower on Monday. "Where are the limits?" he said. "Does the public have the right to screen athletes' circles of friends to see what's going on?"
Drygalla said on Monday in an interview that she rejects far-right ideals yet still felt she had to leave the village to “take the burden off the team.”
Should an athlete's private life play a role in representing their country - even if it involved extremism? Did Drygalla's Nazi associations damage Germany's image abroad at the Olympics?
And would German ministers and media have been so quick to defend Drygalla if her lover had been in an extremist Islamist group?
Or should what happens off the pitch simply stay off the pitch? Have your say.
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