ZEIT ONLINE: Mr. Doreth, the German national basketball team will wear shirts with the hashtag #wirsindmehr to warm up today on Sunday before their match against Israel in Leipzig (18 clock, live on Telekom Sport). You will also publish a joint statement against right-wing populism. You are the initiator of this idea. Why are you doing that?
Bastian Doreth: I was shocked by the incidents in Chemnitz, by the xenophobia, the Hitler salute, the Nazi rabble. What happened there should be taken very seriously. It reflects the state of our society. In our team there are also some players with a migration background. We want to show solidarity with them. We stand for respect, equal rights and freedom of expression.
ZEIT ONLINE: It was also criticism of the hashtag #wirsindmehr to hear, not only from right-wing circles. He contributes to the further split, also be at the concert in Chemnitz bands that are close to the left edge.
Doreth: We also discussed that. To be clear, we have no sympathy for left-wing extremist statements, we stand for the middle. But we consider the term #wirsindmehr to be the most suitable. Everyone understands him. Leipzig is also a good place for it, because it lies in Saxony.
Bastian Doreth, 29, is the point guard of the German national team and Bundesliga club Medi Bayreuth.
© Daniel Reinhardt / dpa
ZEIT ONLINE: The coach and sports director of the Leipzig football club, Ralf Rangnick, says that the sport should stay out of politics. How do you find that?
Doreth: We see that very differently. We athletes are also citizens. We must not accept what is happening here wordlessly. Germany has a big problem and we want to take a stand against the shift to the right. We think that's very important. There is a similar debate in the USA. Maybe Rangnick is just afraid of negative reactions in the stadium.
TIME ONLINE: you do not?
Doreth: Not us. I think the fans will take that well. We do not want to have people in the hall who think otherwise.
ZEIT ONLINE: How did your proposal arrive in the team and in the association? Did you have to prevail against resistance?
Doreth: No. Sure, some players feel more affected by the political developments in Germany, others less. But everyone is behind the statement. I have to say, I'm proud of the team. And the association supports us. It was important for him to know that it was an initiative of the players, not a PR agency.