Rivalries in European football are a huge deal and aren’t taken lightly. Schalke teenager Rabbi Matondo learned this lesson the hard way after accidentally wearing a Jadon Sancho Borussia Dortmund jersey during a private training session and posting a picture on social media. The post has since been deleted, but the damage had already been done.
Dortmund and Schalke have a fierce rivalry known as the Revierderby. The American version of this incident would be like Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers posting a picture of himself wearing a Chicago Bears jersey, but then multiply the intensity of the rivalry 10 times.
Schalke sporting director Jochen Schneider said he was extremely disappointed in Matondo’s decision.
“I made it clear to Rabbi Matondo on the phone what we think of such a rash move. He is only 19 years old but he shouldn’t have done that,” Schneider said to Sky Sports Deutschland. “We clearly told him that he had to show the right reaction to his misconduct on and off the pitch.”
Matondo, a close friend of Sancho since they played together for Manchester City’s academy side, took to Twitter to give one of the most genuine apologies you’ll ever read.
— Rabbi Matondo (@rabbi_matondo) July 15, 2020
The apology is well-constructed and thoughtful, but I can’t help but read Matondo’s statement and think it sounds like he is apologizing for something much worse. I suppose in today’s climate of major sports teams changing their racial-slur team names, star athletes apologizing for anti-Semitic remarks and other celebrities making large apologies for their actions, it is almost the new norm to see statements like this. It’s almost refreshing to know that the “rash move” committed this time around was wearing a friend’s jersey from another team.
The majority of Schalke fans were quick to forgive the winger and showed their support for him in the replies to his tweet.
Rabbi, no problem for us. Media and fake fans are responsible for this unnecessary discussion. We dont like Dortmund but wearing a colleague's shirt is fully acceptable.— Jannis (@Jannis_s04) July 15, 2020
It’s more than ok Rabbi. Your reasoning is completely understandable and I wish our club would’ve shown the same energy when it was about real problems in society and inside the club. All of us are behind you.— Alex (@AIex1904) July 15, 2020
Chin up Rabbi and well done for admitting your mistake #AllSchalkeArentWe— Welsh Fan Zone TV (@WelshFanZoneTV) July 15, 2020