Marco van Basten suspended from Fox Sports for Nazi comment

chief officer for technical development of the FIFA Marco van Basten during the press presentation of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) at the KNVB Campus on July 30, 2018 in Zeist, The Netherlands(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
Marco van Basten (Credit: Getty Images)

In a week in which Dutch football protested against racism in the sport, one of its country’s greatest ever players was involved in a racist incident live on television.

Players in the top two divisions of Dutch football refused to play during the first minute of every match at the weekend, but a Nazi comment made by Marco van Basten has lead to a suspension for the former Milan man.

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Van Basten, who was working for Fox Sports at the time, has been suspended from his role as a pundit on Dutch television after making a comment associated with Nazis live on-air.

Hans Kraay jr of FOX Sports during the Dutch Eredivisie match between AZ Alkmaar and FC Emmen at Cars Jeans stadium on November 10, 2019 in The Hague, The Netherlands(Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images)
Hans Kraay of FOX Sports (Credit: Getty Images)

The former Ajax man made the comment while working on the match between his old club and Heracles. When his colleague Hans Kraay interviewed Heracles manager Frank Wormuth, who is German, van Basten referenced "Sieg Heil" in relation to the language Kraay used.

The term – associated with Nazi rallies – was "stupid and inappropriate" according to van Basten, and "not intended to shock people".

The striker, who scored 24 goals in 58 appearances for the Netherlands during his playing career, apologised on-air immediately after the incident. He later expanded on that apology by adding: "Life is like football. Sometimes you score, sometimes you miss. But if you miss, that does not mean that you are a bad person."

Fox Sports confirmed that van Basten will return to work on 7 December. They said he “did not want to hurt anyone deliberately, apologised and accepted the consequences". The wages from his one-week suspension will be donated to the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation.

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