The remarks were reportedly made a couple months before the World Cup, when a team including a lot of young talent surprised the world by ending in third place; there had even been questions as this series started whether Germany would get out of the group stage. Best of all, die Mannschaft was a diverse team of players born in Brazil, Turkey, Africa, Poland and Germany, a mix of religions and skin color that is helping to change the image of Germany.
The comments of Ballack's agent, Michael Becker, were more throwback to olden days than representing the new era of German football. It's also not entirely clear whether Becker was honestly referring to homosexuality or if he was just speaking roughly, but he made a number of anti-gay comments in that conversation, which was reported in this week's edition of Der Spiegel.
One hopes Ballack knows how to publicly slap his agent upside the head and disown his comments, both to show he's a man of the 21st century and because he should show his support of the national team, not of his agent.
- UPDATE on this story here.