The one-time Germany international has issued an apology to his compatriot after sending him a message with racial connotations
Ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann is facing accusations of racism after referring to Dennis Aogo as a “token black guy” in a WhatsApp text message.
Former Hamburg and Schalke left-back Aogo has served as a pundit for Sky Germany since hanging up his boots last year, and was back in the studio covering Manchester City’s Champions League semi-final clash with Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.
Aogo revealed after the game, which City won 2-0 to progress to the final, that he had received an offensive message from Lehmann relating to the colour of his skin that was meant for someone else.
Aogo, who won 12 caps for Germany at the height of his career, posted a screenshot of Lehmann’s text on his Instagram story, which read: “Is Dennis actually your token black guy?”
The 34-year-old also tagged his compatriot in the post with the caption: “WOW, are you serious? This message wasn’t supposed to go to me I guess.”
Hertha BSC have since announced that Lehmann will no longer be a part of the supervisory board at the Bundesliga club.
President Werner Gegenbauer said: “Such statements in no way correspond to the values that Hertha BSC stands for and actively advocates. Hertha BSC distances itself from any form of racism.”
Lehmann issued a private apology to Aogo before attempting to clarify his comments during an interview with German publication BILD on Wednesday morning.
“I have already spoken to Dennis on the phone and asked him to forgive me if my statement came across as disrespectful,” he said.
“It was not meant that way at all, but in a positive way. As a Sky expert, he is knowledgeable and very strong in his appearance. And therefore also increases the quota.
“That’s what I meant to say but it was unfortunate of me to put it. Since the WhatsApp went out from my phone, I take responsibility for it. It was a private message.”
Lehmann’s playing career
Lehmann cemented a standing as one of the top German goalkeepers of his generation over the course of his 24-year career in European football, taking in spells at Schalke, Milan, Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal and Stuttgart.
He won seven trophies in total, including one Premier League title with the Gunners, and was also part of their fabled 2003-04 Invincibles squad.
Lehmann made 61 appearances for his country too, earning a runners’ up medal at both the 2002 World Cup and 2008 European Championship.