The Oakland A’s and bench coach Ryan Christenson have issued an apology after he used a Nazi salute twice during a game on Thursday.
“I made a mistake and will not deny it,” Christenson said in the statement, while maintaining that the gesture was unintentional.
He threw up the salute at the end of the game, when he was greeting players. In footage of the incident, pitcher Liam Hendriks attempts to adjust Christenson’s arms into an elbow bump position, like the other teammates. But Christenson then makes the salute one more time.
Christenson attributed his mistake to the coronavirus pandemic: “Today in the dugout I greeted players with a gesture that was offensive. In the world today of [COVID-19] I adapted our elbow bump, which we do after wins, to create some distance with the players.”
“My gesture unintentionally resulted in a racist and horrible salute that I do not believe in. What I did is unacceptable, and I deeply apologize.”
The A’s issued their own statement, where they apologized and acknowledged that Christenson’s gesture looked like a salute: “We do not support or condone this gesture, or the racist sentiment behind it.”
The team continued, “This is incredibly offensive, especially in these times when we as a [club] and many others are working to expose and address racial inequities in our country.”