Ex-Chelsea and England star Cole apologizes for Holocaust reference
Former Chelsea forward Carlton Cole has apologized after he said that West Ham risked a 'Holocaust' if they didn't pick a defensive side against Man City in remarks which came on the first day of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.
Cole, who won seven England caps in a career which also saw him represent Aston Villa and West Ham, made the remarks on the BBC Radio 5 Live radio station in the build up to the Hammers' away trip to Pep Guardiola's free-scoring side.
Asked if West Ham boss David Moyes had selected an overly-defensive team for the match against the Premier League champions, Cole said that it was a necessary step against such a potent offense – but did so using offensive terminology.
"You can say he has gone a bit negative. Why not?" Cole said on the broadcast.
Carlton Cole speaking on @bbcfivelive just now said that a West Ham loss today would be ‘a holocaust’. An absolutely disgraceful use of words, but well done to the BBC for calling it out and apologising swiftly.— AW PR (@AWPRCO) November 28, 2021
Dear everyone involved in football,Nothing that happens on the pitch should be compared to the industrialised mass murder of millions of people. Joey Barton, you started this. Carlton Cole, you’re continuing it.Bloody end it, now. https://t.co/fgSecxcGyC— Jack Mendel 🗞️ (@Mendelpol) November 28, 2021
"You've got to give Man City some respect otherwise you're going to get picked off.
"Otherwise it will be a Holocaust, and you don't want that."
Cole later apologized for his remarks on the show: "I'd like to apologize to the listeners for a totally unacceptable phrase that I used earlier.
Shocking from Carlton Cole, and will any serious action be taken? Of course not. It’s another example of anti-semitism not being taken as seriously as other forms of racism, but why? An apology is important, but more needs to be done. https://t.co/HSP3uVNR8t— Louis Dangoor (@TheLouisDangoor) November 28, 2021
"I'm sorry if I've offended anybody, really and truly. Sorry."
The Holocaust was the mass genocide of Jews by Nazi Germany during World War II, during which an estimated six million people were killed.
Cole's comments come just weeks after Joey Barton, the manager of English fourth-tier side Bristol Rovers, also issued an apology for referencing the Holocaust during a post-match interview.
"I said to the lads during the week, 'the team's almost like musical chairs," Barton said. "Someone gets in and does well but then gets suspended or injured.
"Someone gets in for a game, does well but then has a Holocaust, a nightmare, an absolute disaster."
Barton later said that there was "no malice or offense intended" in his remarks and promised to make use of "better analogies in future".
Manchester City beat West Ham 2-1 in the game Cole was discussing.