Former Nigerian midfielder, John Mikel Obi has blasted his former club, Trabzonspor for not being passionate about the safety of players and fans as the world continues to fight against the novel COVID-19. It would be recalled that the veteran midfielder called out his Turkish League, Super Lig, for not placing a suspension on games like other major leagues in Europe did to control the spread of coronavirus in the continent.
Unfortunately, his protest against the nonchalant attitude of the Turkish League towards the spread of coronavirus has cost him his contract with the Turkish club, Trabzonspor, to be terminated and the footballer jet out of the country to join his family in England.
In an interview with told The Athletic, Mikel revealed that the club was really angry about his opinion on the COVID-19 and how the league is taking it. According to Mikel, the club instructed him to meet the President of the club one on one. He revealed that the President of the club ordered him to take down the post he published on Instagram calling out the League for taking the outbreak for granted. He, however, told the President of the club that he would not take down the post because it expresses his opinion not as a footballer but as a father, a husband, a son and a human.
The 32-year-old midfielder revealed that his family was the main reason why he had to give up his contract with the Turkish team. According to him, at this turbulent time the world is presently going through, it is important that everyone stay at home. Meanwhile, his wife and twin daughters had remained there while he played in Turkey.
Mikel stated that he wants to win the League as much as the club wants to earn glory too, but in a situation like this one, the first that should be considered is safety. Quoting his words during an interview with The Athletic, he said;
“I was told to meet with the president in his office one-on-one. He asked me to take [the post] down. I told him I wasn’t going to do that.
“It’s my opinion. This is how I feel. We live in a free world. I have freedom of speech. I can express my opinion.
“I wanted to win the league too but at this point in time we have to think about what is more important: to save peoples’ lives.
“I want to help in any way that I can to defeat this virus. For us to be out there playing; I don’t think we are helping the global situation. I don’t feel it is right for us to play football.
“I explained to the club that I needed to see and be with my kids,”
“They were calling me every single morning, crying on the phone, wondering why their friends were not coming over for playdates, why they can’t touch anyone on the street.
“I knew if I came home, they’d be relaxed because they’d then know Daddy was home.
“I told the club, ‘OK, if that’s what you’re saying, I’m ready to give up my contract. To be with my family, to help the world to do the right thing — everybody needs to stay at home at this point in time.’
“Go back to Trabzonspor? No chance.
“Not with the way they have dealt with this situation.
“We have to look at ourselves sometimes in life and ask what is more important? Who do I want to be friends with? When I’m in trouble, who is going to look after me?
“And, the way they have dealt with this, I don’t see myself going back to Trabzonspor again.”