The Czech Republic’s Tomas Soucek thinks compatriot Ondrej Kudela’s 10-match ban is ‘absurd’ as they prepare to face Scotland at Hampden Park on Sunday.
Kudela was given the ban after racially abusing Rangers player Glen Kamara during a Europa League last 16 match.
Soucek, however, thinks the ban is harsh and counterproductive, and has given his support to Kudela over the last few months.
Speaking to Czech publication Idnes, he said: “At West Ham, everyone asked me about it and why he said it (to Kamara).
“And I fought for Ondrej all the time…I believe that he did not tell him anything racist, no one proved anything about him.
“Yet a lot of people in the UK condemned him and he received a heavy sentence of ten matches from UEFA.
“I found it absurd. I know him so well that I can't imagine him saying anything racist.
“I see how sensitive the British are to racism every day.
“Two cultures collide because we think a little differently than they do.
“Of course, it's right they want to fight racism, but sometimes they go to such extremes that, in my opinion, it's counterproductive.
Soucek also bizarrely believes the UK isn’t moving forward in their fight against discrimination by identifying racism and when racists are proven to be racist.
“It's hard for me to understand and I tell myself that when they go looking for racism in everything, they can never get rid of it completely.
“On the contrary, they are harming themselves.
“Our little girl goes to nursery here and when she goes to draw something on a blackboard, she can't say that the blackboard is black or white — both could be interpreted as racism.
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“Slowly, one is afraid to say anything so as not to offend or slander someone. And I think that's wrong.'
The West Ham player also thinks taking the knee before kick-off will no longer happen next season as the message no longer has the same impact.
“We've been doing it all season, but it will probably be cancelled before the next one as it doesn't have much of the original impact anymore.
“There are more fights here, we recently boycotted social networks for five days to show that we are against discrimination and insults on the internet.
“But it's like everything — an interesting gesture that will attract attention, but will it help anything? That's the question.”
Czech Republic play Scotland on Sunday before a game against Croatia, also at Hampden Park, and then head off to London for their final game of the group stage against England.
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