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Bundesliga coach calls for stronger response to hate speech

April 7, 2023

RB Leipzig head coach Marco Rose has called for tougher state intervention against online hate speech after Benjamin Henrichs was targeted by racist insults after the club's German Cup quarterfinal win.

Benjamin Henrichs raises his hands in disbelief
Benjamin Henrichs was subjected to racist online abuse after RB Leipzig's cup win over DortmundImage: Titgemeyer/osnapix/IMAGO

RB Leipzig coach Marco Rose said on Friday that he backed increased penalties for online abuse against players, after Germany defender Benjamin Henrichs was the target of a barage of online racist insults following the German Cup quarterfinals this week.

"I think more draconian punishments should be imposed, that the state should think about it," Rose told a news conference on Friday. "By locking them up for a few days, you could possibly make one or two of them think about behaving like a normal, social person."

After the game against Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Germany international Henrichs shared excerpts from personal messages on social media platform TikTok, in which he and his family were targeted with racist and derogatory insults. Some messages even wished Henrichs would get injured.

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"We won 2-0 in the cup against Dortmund today and I'm going to show you what my DMs (personal messages) look like after a win like that in the Cup. Have fun," Henrichs said in a video.

"We live in a society where anyone can spread hate and racism on the internet," he wrote.

RB Leipzig said on Thursday they condemn "all forms of racism and antisemitism and don't tolerate any form of discrimination. We stand for diversity, openness, human dignity and tolerance."

Defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich and the DFB showed their support of Henrichs, with the former tweeting: "Only together can we fight against racism, antisemitism and discrimination in our society! We in Munich are also at your side, Benny!"

Rose followed suit on Friday. "It's very important to always set an example and stand up against racism and hate on the internet."

The RB Leipzig head coach fears, though, that Henrichs' case will soon be forgotten "like so many things, when it comes to serious issues."

Henrichs is now reportedly considering legal action, and so doesn't want to comment on the matter publicly.

jh/jcg (dpa)

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