Former Dutch striker and manager Marco van Basten is embroiled in some controversy thanks to his remarks Saturday. The 55-year-old van Basten has been doing some commentary work for some of Fox Sports’ international units, and that led to him making a “Sieg Heil” comment that was caught on air on a Fox pay-per-view broadcast ahead of the Dutch Eredivisie clash between Ajax and Heracles. The comment came on the pre-match show after host Hans Kraay interviewed Heracles’ German manager Frank Wormuth in German, leading to a “Sieg Heil” (a salute used at mass rallies in Nazi Germany) remark from van Basten that was broadcast on air:
— Tijani Goullet AD (@TijaniGoulletAD) November 23, 2019
As per The Daily Mail, van Basten apologized at halftime, saying he only meant to mock Kraay’s German:
‘Not too pretty, sieg heil, pfannkuchen (pancake),’ van Basten said, using the Nazi German greeting during World War II.
His words unleased a Twitter storm and during half-time in the match the former Ajax and AC Milan forward made his excuses for what he termed an ‘ill-placed joke’.
‘It was not my intention at all to shock people. I only wanted to ‘explain’ Hans’ German,’ a contrite van Basten said.
But that was a particularly unfortunate remark to make on a weekend when Dutch teams are taking a stand against racism, following an incident last weekend where a second division match between FC Den Bosch and Excelsior was stopped over racist chants. And van Basten should know that any sort of Nazi reference on air is not likely to go over well.