Orkun Kökçü offers thoughts on OneLove controversy surrounding Oranje

Feyenoord’s Orkun Kökçü has gone on record on ESPN regarding the OneLove armband controversy at the World Cup, two months after the same armband caused controversy for him personally.

Kökçü refused to wear the armband in Eredivisie matches while captain of the league leaders citing religious reasons behind it.

While the decision not to wear it saw him at the centre of much debate, the Turkish international stated he appreciates where people who criticised him were coming from but that the decision was purely a personal one.

“I stay close to my religion,” the 21-year-old said. “That’s what I did then. In the end if you win that match and you score and you give an assist, then you think to yourself that it must be a good choice. 

“But I also understand the reactions from the outside on the one hand. It was purely personal.”

“I came out of it well again. I was able to let my feet speak. I never had a moment of: What have I done now? It was really something personal to me. I didn’t worry about all the commotion and chaos. So I don’t regret it. But it did cause quite a stir.”

The OneLove discussion came up again around the World Cup in Qatar, where FIFA thwarted the plans of the Netherlands, among others. Virgil van Dijk therefore refrained from wearing the captain’s armband. 

“I don’t want to point fingers at anyone. But if you really stand for an action, you must support it at all costs. Just like I tried to do. 

“I knew that all kinds of things would come over me, but I don’t think it should be just words. When I heard that they wouldn’t wear it, I thought: what will happen now. Will there be a commotion again? But that did not happen. And in the end I understand that too.”

GBeNeFN | Tom Phillips

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