Ozil announced his withdrawal from the national team on Sunday, citing what he believed was racist treatment by the DFB regarding his Turkish heritage and accusing Grindel of failing to support him throughout Germany's participation in the World Cup.
But Grindel, in a statement released by the DFB on Thursday, expressed regret that the photo Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan took with Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in London in May had been used to further racist purposes.
"I won't pretend that this personal criticism hasn't affected me, but I feel even more sorry for my colleagues, the many volunteers at grassroots level and the staff at the DFB, who have been linked with racism," Grindel said. "It's something I firmly reject for both the association and myself personally.
"The DFB's values are also my own; diversity, solidarity, anti-discrimination and integration are all values and beliefs that are close to my heart," Grindel said. "... Looking back, as president, I should been unequivocally clear about something that is a given for me as a person and for us all as an association: Any form of racial hostility will not be accepted or tolerated under any circumstances.
"That was the case for Jerome Boateng, that is the case for Mesut Ozil, and it is the same for any player at grassroots level [who] has a migrant background."
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