kuper reflection

A photograph from Simon Kuper’s Ajax depicting the English Team giving the Nazi salute before kickoff in Berlin on May 13th, 1983. This picture reminded me of a juxtaposing image of Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem and the subsequent responses/benching that took place after. It goes back to freedom of speech during sport and the platform that athletes have while they are in the spotlight. Thus, politicization of sport is unavoidable, especially during WWII. While this is an English team it reminded me of Kuper’s writing in chapter 9 when he touched on Ajax’s complicity during the war with Nazi Germany and how they really did not do anything to publicly acknowledge their own wrongdoings. For example, during the war their cheer was “Heil, Ajax, Heil”. After the war it was changed to “hup Ajax Hup” On page 115, a former club chairmen Jan Melchers recounted that “Regarding the war, the view of Ajax was always: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Hide it away, don’t talk about it”. Moreover, the lack of responsibility in Ajax brings forth the failures of the club.

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One thought on “kuper reflection

  1. Thanks for the interesting reading. I agree with you for the irresponsible actions of AJAX. Although survival is a serious issue, their faddiness action is clearly servile and you point it out very well. You brought an interesting point of comparing Colin Kaepernick kneeling and British soccer players giving a Nazi salute. I see this matter differently. Although I do not know many details of Colin Kaepernick kneeling, I know it was an internal decision at least in the beginning. And I see the salute as an external decision. Pressure from the government and indirect relation of their action to war escalated the issue to a different level. But, comparing these issues made me think deeper into how difficult and brave those players need to deny order to give Nazi salute.

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