Unlike others, I don’t spend a lot of time fraternizing with Nazis—as in at all.
So when news began to circulate of Oakland A’s bench coach Ryan Christenson doing this on Thursday:
I didn’t immediately recognize what it was. Thankfully, plenty of other people did.
They then, of course, called him out on it, and as ESPN reports, now we get what we always do when circumstances such as these occur: a forced apology.
“I made a mistake and will not deny it,” Christenson said in a statement. “Today in the dugout I greeted players with a gesture that was offensive. In the world today of COVID, 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 was unacceptable and I deeply apologize.”
The A’s also made 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. We are deeply sorry that this happened on our playing field.”
As for the act itself, ESPN provided some important details:
[Oakland Athletics] Closer Liam Hendriks could be seen correcting Christenson’s gesture so it fit what the rest of the team was doing. Christenson then turned around and repeated the gesture.
“No, no straight arm, you have to bend your elbow,” Christenson said Hendriks told him, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “Oh, I see what you mean, oh no, it’s like ‘Heil Hitler.’”
It’s yet to be determined if the A’s will take any disciplinary action, but Twitter isn’t letting Christenson or the team off the hook.
Christenson has the complexion for protection though, so don’t be surprised if MLB just Kanye shrugs and goes about their day.