As the A’s prepare to take on the AL West rival Houston Astros on Friday for a three-game series, baseball has not been the first thing on everyone’s mind.
Following the A’s sweep of the Texas Rangers on Thursday, Oakland bench coach Ryan Christenson made an apparent Nazi salute in the handshake line as the team celebrated their victory. The gesture was captured on NBC Sports California’s broadcast, and those who saw it criticized both Christenson and the organization on social media.
A’s manager Bob Melvin addressed the media on Friday and said he did not see Christenson’s gesture in person, but he did see it later on. Melvin is confident it was not intended to be hateful, or presented with any malice.
“Ryan Christenson is fully supported by everybody in our clubhouse, and they know who he is. So do I,” Melvin said. “So, obviously it didn’t look great, but that was not his intent at all. I know that for a fact.”
A’s outfielder Mark Canha spoke to reporters earlier on Friday and echoed what Melvin said, saying Christenson had no ill intent behind the exchange with closer Liam Hendriks.
Melvin said Christenson has never been the type to say or do anything that would be racist or any derivative.
“Never, he’s just not that guy,” Melvin said. “He’s progressive, very progressive as a person and everybody feels bad for him right now because they know who he is.”
Melvin revealed that he addressed the team about the incident in a short meeting, and the consensus across the team and organization is this was not done intentionally. Canha repeatedly said this on Friday as well.
Melvin also said he hasn’t heard anything from MLB in regard to whether any disciplinary measures would be taken.
“I can’t speak for anybody above me,” Melvin said. “And I don’t expect to, no. I mean, I don’t.”