Former midfielder Yaya Toure in Barcelona and Manchester City has said that Arsenal striker Mesut Ozil should not have spoken out in condemning human rights in China.
Özil criticized China's treatment of its Muslim Uighur minority via Twitter on Friday, prompting Chinese Central Television (CCTV) to remove Arsenal's Premier League defeat to Manchester City on Sunday from their TV schedule.
Toure said the situation is "complicated" because they are both Muslims, but disagreed with Özil that athletes should use their platforms to discuss political issues.
Toure told The Associated Press.
"As a Muslim, it's complicated and it's his choice. He has commented, but I think he was wrong to say."
Toure, a former international Ivory Coast, has just completed five months of playing in Chinese second team club Qingdao Huanghai.
U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo reached out to Özil on Tuesday via social media.
Arsenal, which has been commercially active in China in recent years and even opened a restaurant in Shanghai in 2018, quickly distanced itself from Özil's comments.
Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.