Berlin (AFP) – Police in Gelsenkirchen are investigating allegations of racist abuse suffered during a German Cup match by Hertha Berlin defender Jordan Torunarigha, who on Thursday slammed the “idiots” responsible on social media.
The 22-year-old defender was allegedly the victim of monkey chants and other racist insults during Hertha’s 3-2 extra-time loss to Schalke in Gelsenkirchen on Tuesday.
“Yes, we are investigating, even if no complaint has yet been received,” a police spokesman told AFP subsidiary SID.
Neither Torunarigha nor Hertha have yet filed a complaint, but police say they are “talking to the club and watching video footage” of the incident.
The German Football Association (DFB) also launched an investigation on Wednesday.
Should the culprits be identified, Schalke has said “there will be consequences” and sports director Jochen Schneider insists the club will show “zero tolerance”.
Visibly upset, Torunarigha was sent off in extra time for a second yellow card after throwing a crate of drinks in frustration on the sidelines and took to social media on Thursday to address the incident.
“I was born in Germany, I grew up here, I graduated from high school here, I speak German like everybody else, so I can’t understand these comments made by a few idiots during the game,” Torunarigha wrote on Instagram.
“I’m glad that I have the good fortune to have such support from my family, my team-mates and the club.
“Maybe not everyone in such a situation has that.”
Torunarigha was born in Chemnitz, where he spent the first eight years of his life, after his father Ojokojo moved there from Nigeria in 1990, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Torunarigha’s father signed for the local football club Chemnitzer FC and was one of the first black players to play in former East Germany.
“I was born in Chemnitz, I went through all that when I was young,” Torunarigha added on Instagram.
“My parents were insulted.
“That’s why a situation like Schalke upsets me so much and why I reacted so emotionally.”