Following a win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday, Oakland Athletics bench coach Ryan Christenson was filmed celebrating the win with a gesture that resembled a Nazi salute.
Christenson had his arm pointed straight out for an elbow bump, and after reliever Liam Hendriks corrected him, Christenson appeared to notice his mistake, laugh and then do it again.
The clip quickly made waves on social media, and Christenson has since addressed the issue in a statement released by the team. A former MLB outfielder, Christenson claimed that the gesture was not intentional but rather he was just trying to celebrate the win while adhering to COVID-19 guidelines.https://twitter.com/Athletics/status/1291576043824795649
"I made a mistake and will not deny it. 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," Christenson said. "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 Athletics also released a statement signifying their disappointment with the actions, especially in a time when the sports world is working to eliminate racism and create an inclusive society.
"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 team said. "We are deeply sorry that this happened on our playing field."
Christenson played four seasons with Oakland from 1998-2001 and was promoted to the MLB coaching staff in 2018 following a short managerial career within their farm system.
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