Baseball Coach Apologises For Nazi Salute, Claims He Was Social Distancing
Baseball coach Ryan Christenson has apologised for making a Nazi salute following his side’s win over Texas Rangers on Thursday, August 6.
Christenson, the current bench coach for the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball, could be seen raising his arm with his hand straight after the game as players approached him for elbow bumps.
Video footage shared online shows closer Liam Hendriks pushing Christenson’s hand down and bumping his forearm, before the 46-year-old coach turned around and raised his arm in the salute for a second time.
You can watch what happened below:
‘I made a mistake and will not deny it,’ Christenson said in a statement shared on the Oakland Athletics’ official Twitter account, before going on to say he had ‘unintentionally’ made the gesture in place of an elbow bump.
Elbow bumps have been common practice in a range of different sports amid the current global health crisis, as people try to avoid close contact such as handshakes and high fives.
However, the bench coach said he was trying to adapt the elbow bump into a gesture that would allow even greater distance between himself and the players, saying he held his arm up the way he did to ‘create some distance’ with the players.
‘My gesture unintentionally resulted in a racist and horrible salute that I do not believe in,’ his statement continued. ‘What I did is unacceptable and I deeply apologise.’
The Oakland Athletics said in a statement of their own:
A’s bench coach Ryan Christenson greeted players with a gesture that looked like a Nazi salute. We do not support or condone this gesture or the racist sentiment behind it.
This is incredibly offensive, especially in these times when we as a Club and so many others are working to expose and address racial inequities in our country.
The club went on to say they were ‘deeply sorry this happened on our playing field’.
After video footage of the gesture began circulating on social media, many criticised Christenson for his actions and called for him to be sacked.
‘Ryan Christenson should be thrown out of baseball for good, immediately,’ Mike Willner, who broadcasts for the Toronto Blue Jays, tweeted. ‘Good for Liam Hendriks for taking down his Nazi salute. Kidding or not, there is ZERO place for that.’
However, Oakland Athletics’ longtime beat reporter Susan Slusser speculated that Christenson was simply getting ready to do his usual post-game karate chop celebration. ‘That’s what he was getting ready to do, from what I can tell,’ she wrote on Twitter.
Christenson played eight major league seasons with the Athletics, Diamondbacks, Brewers and Rangers before joining Oakland Athletics as a bench coach in 2018.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk
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