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Soccer Coach Fired By Team After Disavowing LGBTQ+ Community, Allies

Hungarian Soccer Team Fires Coach Zsolt Petry For Hateful Comments

Zsolt Petry called immigration a “moral degradation” and called out those who supported rights and protections for the LGBTQ+ community, families, and children.

A professional soccer team in Hungary has parted ways with a vaunted coach for homophobic and anti-immigrant remarks he made in a recent interview. Zsolt Petry, a celebrated goalkeeping coach for Hertha BCS and former Hungarian national team member, was fired after he described immigration as a "moral degradation" and disparaged Hungarian goalie Peter Gulacsi who recently expressed support for LGBTQ+ families. Petry made the comments in an interview with Magyar Nemzet.

"I don't know what could've motivated Peter to stand with homosexual, transvestite and other gender identities," Petry said in the April 5 interview. "I certainly wouldn't have stirred up emotions in his place."

Hertha BSC released a statement the following day, announcing Petry had been fired.

"Following several remarks made by goalkeeping coach Zsolt Petry" and after "intense internal discussions and consultations," the team announced they had terminated Petry "with immediate effect."

The situation started with a February social media post from Gulacsi, a goalie for the Hungarian national team and the German club RB Leipzig, who said his "living abroad for over 14 years" had shown him the importance of "love, acceptance, and tolerance" of others regardless of ethnicity, religious beliefs, or gender identity. He singled out the need to protect children in LGBTQ+ families.

"I stand for rainbow families!" he declared.

In his interview, Petry initially defended Gulacsi's right to express his opinions as a Hungarian citizen, but objected to the use of his platform as a professional player to do so. Of course, Petry had no problem using his own platform to publicly criticize Gulacsi and weigh in with his own opinions on immigration and LGBTQ+ rights.

"Europe is a Christian continent, and I am reluctant to watch the moral degradation sweeping across our continent," Petry said.

He further explained that Gulacsi and other athletes are "loved because they defend with bravura, catch a penalty or defend the goal with a Hungarian coat of arms over their heart" and that "it's completely unnecessary to make enemies" by expressing contrarian political opinions.

Petry's statements brought comparisons to Laura Ingraham's infamous 2018 admonition to NBA superstar LeBron James to butt out of politics and stick to basketball.

"It's always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball" she advised viewers of The Ingraham Angle while telling James to "shut up and dribble."

The LGBTQ+ community in Hungary has faced increased oppression in recent years. The community was targeted with a series of homophobic and transphobic laws banning adoption and marriage recognition in the past few years. A book publisher was recently ordered to place an LGBTQ+ warning disclaimer in a children's book.

Ironically, right wing politician Jozsef Szajer was arrested in neighboring Belgium for attempting to flee an unlawful gay orgy by shimmying down a pipe. Video of the arrest showed a dazed Szajer's moments after his fall and capture. He was later released on diplomatic immunity despite being in possession of the drug ecstasy at the time of his detention. The news forced Szajer's resignation from all political and public life.

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