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Bastian Schweinsteiger is a German soccer player. It would be fair to say that Bastian Schweinsteiger looks very German. Teutonic, even. Is Bastian Schweinsteiger the most German looking person ever? Possibly. Does Bastian Schweinsteiger look like a Nazi soldier? Um, that depends on who you ask.
A Chinese toy company introduced a new Nazi soldier to its WWII collection. The Nazi soldier's name is Bastian. He looks ... very German. Does Bastian the Nazi toy soldier look like Bastian Schweinsteiger? You can judge for yourself:
A Striking Resemblance to a Midfielder
Yeah, we can see why Bastian Schweinsteiger the German and Manchester United midfielder would be less than thrilled with Bastian the Nazi soldier. We can see why the toy manufacturer would choose Schweinsteiger as model - as we noted earlier he is both German and very German looking.
But we can really understand Schweinsteiger's desire to not be portrayed as a Nazi soldier. Nazis, whether of the historic German variety or the neo kind, are not too popular these days. And for an international soccer star with endorsement potential, being associated with Nazi soldiers is not great for your image.
Sue the Pants Off That Nazi
The Telegraph cites the German newspaper Bild for most of its report, which included interviews with the toy manufacturer and Schweinsteiger's representatives. For their part, the toy company says they weren't copying the famous German's likeness. Company spokesman Patrick Chan told Bild, "We offer no figures based on the football. The resemblance is purely coincidental. The figure is based on a typical German. We believe most Germans look like this. Bastian is a common name in Germany."
Chan isn't wrong, necessarily, but that might not save his company from a lawsuit. Bild also reports that, while nothing has been filed yet, sources close to Schweinsteiger say he has begun legal proceedings. And media lawyer Ulrich Amelung thinks Schweinsteiger has pretty good case. He told Bild, "This is a clear violation of the rights of Schweinsteiger. The portrayal of him wearing a swastika uniform is a clear case of defamation and insult."