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Hertha BSC suspend Salomon Kalou after controversial video flouting COVID-19 hygiene rules


Hertha BSC Training - 1.Bundesliga Photo by Jan-Philipp Burmann/City-Press via Getty Images

Salomon Kalou may have dealt a serious blow to the Bundesliga’s prospects of returning to football anytime soon, after posting an impressively ill-advised Facebook Live video that showed him and a couple of his teammates openly flouting COVID-19 hygiene rules, mocking the testing process, and complaining about the pay cuts they had all agreed to.

While no one’s ever accused professional athletes of being rocket scientists, this one’s still an amazingly poor show from the former Chelsea cult hero. While he may have thought it was all just a joke — just as when he, “David Cameroon” grabbed the Chelsea TV camera in that famous video clip — he couldn’t have judged his audience any worse. Wonder what his good pal from Chelsea days, Mikel, might think of all this, who literally canceled his contract at Trabzonspor due to their poor response to the pandemic.

Kalou’s Facebook Live video has long since been deleted, but the Internet doesn’t forget. The video shows him shaking hands or fist-bumping with several players and staff, players joking about others getting rich from their pay cuts, and then interrupting the coronavirus test of teammate Jordan Torunarigha while getting yelled at the by the physio about filming in a private setting and violating the hygiene rules (three of them in a close space).

The video can be seen in this series of tweets.

The powers that be don’t forget either. While Kalou has issued an official apology, he’s been suspended indefinitely by the team, from both training and any potential games in the near future.

“With his video, Salomon Kalou has not only done a great deal of damage to Hertha BSC, but also created the impression that individual players are not taking the issue of coronavirus seriously, in a time of great discussion on the resumption of football and the role of the professional game.

“I would like to emphasise that we continue to notify all those involved of guidelines on hygiene and social distancing, and make them aware of consequent compliance. We’re clearly following the requirements of the health authorities responsible for us, as well as the recommendations of the RKI.

“Hertha BSC deeply regret the behaviour of Salomon Kalou, especially since he is a player as decorated as he is experienced. However, the extent of this misconduct requires consequential action.”

-Michael Preetz; GM; source: Hertha BSC

Kalou’s video comes on the heels of the three positive COVID-19 tests at 1.FC Köln — and the controversy after one of their players went rogue and complained to the media (scared and ill-informed or not) — which have now been followed by seven more confirmed positive tests from the first couples rounds of league-wide testing in the two top divisons of the Bundesliga.

While it is unavoidable that players and staff will test positive — 10 positive tests from 1724 for a virus that won’t be eradicated for some time, if ever — the only way we’re going to have football again is if all involved (including the players) actually take the prescribed measures from the government and healthcare authorities seriously.

Disappointing from Kalou, but it would be naïve to think that he’s the only outlier.

How much can we protect players from themselves? How much can we risk others next to those players who just don’t care? Is this what WestWorld Season 4 will be about?

The situation was already ridiculously fragile and complex and fraught with danger, and now Kalou just lit a fire underneath it.

“I’m sorry if I gave the impression that I’m not taking coronavirus seriously. I want to apologise for this.

“The reality is the exact opposite, because I’m really worried about the people of Africa, because health systems aren’t as good there as they are in Germany. I didn’t really think it through, and was excited that my tests came back negative.

“I would also like to apologise to all those who appeared in the video, who didn’t know that I was broadcasting live and whom I didn’t want to bring into this situation.”

-Salomon Kalou; source: Hertha BSC

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