Oakland A’s bench coach Ryan Christenson apologized for twice performing a Nazi salute after his team’s 6-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.
After the game, Christenson said the gesture was unintentional.
The moment, widely shared on social media, showed Christenson making the salute as players came in from the field at the game’s conclusion. Pitcher Liam Hendriks then pushed Christenson’s arm into a more normal “elbow bump” position. After trading a couple of elbow bumps, Christenson turned and performed the Nazi salute again:
Christenson told longtime A’s beat reporter Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that the team’s general manager, David Forst, had called him immediately after the game for an explanation:
“Obviously I wasn’t doing that intentionally,” Christenson told the Chronicle. “I just blacked out, my mind wasn’t there and I spaced out. I’m sure it looks terrible. I did it, but it was not intentional. I don’t know what more to say.”
The A’s released a statement saying the gesture looked “like a Nazi salute.”
“We do not support or condone this gesture or the racist sentiment behind it,” the statement said. “We are deeply sorry that this happened on our playing field.”
Christenson also stated that he was trying to “adapt” the elbow bump gesture to create more distance from the players due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“My gesture unintentionally resulted in a racist and horrible salute that I do not believe in,” he said. “What I did is unacceptable and I deeply apologize.”
The 46-year-old played for the A’s for parts of four seasons over a six-year Major League career and has been the team’s bench coach since 2018. He was reportedly a candidate for Pittsburgh Pirates manager during the off-season but did not get the position.
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