Last Updated: Mon Nov 01, 2010 20:15 pm (KSA) 17:15 pm (GMT)

Jewish groups protest footballer's Hitler outfit

Gumprecht dressed as Hitler for a team ceremony (Courtesy: Courier Mail)
Gumprecht dressed as Hitler for a team ceremony (Courtesy: Courier Mail)

A German-born footballer playing for one of Australia's top clubs apologized Wednesday for attending a party dressed as Adolf Hitler after Jewish groups protested against the "disgusting" act.

Andre Gumprecht, 33, attended a post-Grand Final ceremony Monday for his Central Coast Mariners team dressed in a khaki military uniform and mustache to resemble the former German dictator.

The outfit was slammed by Jewish groups who described the costume as "disgusting" and labeled "stupid" by Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley.

"Hitler was such a monster and for a lot of people, it's a very sensitive thing to be confronted with," Ernie Friedlander, a spokesman for the Jewish community group B'nai B'rith, told Australian newspapers.

The incident could jeopardize Gumprecht's future with the club. The 33-year-old has not re-signed for next season.

Gumprecht said he was "devastated" by the backlash: "It was a big mistake and a stupid mistake, I'm just devastated," he told the Daily Telegraph. "It's really sad that I've offended communities and I'm very disappointed and feeling sorry."

Parallel case

As Jewish communities reacted angrily to the Hitler costume, Muslims protested Denmark's decision to reprint an offensive cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad, in which he is shown wearing a turban with a lit bomb fuse.

Despite Muslim outrage, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen defended the 17 newspapers, insisting their aim was not to offend.

Since the republication, Sudan has called for a boycott of Danish goods, Jordanian media have protested, thousands of Bahrainis have demonstrated, and other protests have been held in Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia and Gaza.

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