San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker and Premier Leaguer striker Nicolas Anelka — both natives of France — have found themselves in hot water for making a controversial gesture that many perceive to be anti-Semitic. Anelka made the gesture, known as the “quenelle” salute, after scoring a goal on Saturday. A photo of Parker making the gesture alongside French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala surfaced over the weekend.
Some people believe the gesture is an inversion of the Nazi salute that has been made popular by Dieudonne. Parker, who said the photo of him and the comedian was several years old, released a statement of apology on Monday.
— tweeterman (@martin76130) December 28, 2013
“While this gesture has been part of French culture for many years, it was not until recently that I learned of the very negative concerns associated with it,” Parker said, via ESPN.com. “When l was photographed making that gesture three years ago, I thought it was part of a comedy act and did not know that it could be in any way offensive or harmful.
“Since I have been made aware of the seriousness of this gesture, I will certainly never repeat the gesture and sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding or harm relating to my actions. Hopefully this incident will serve to educate others that we need to be more aware that things that may seem innocuous can actually have a history of hate and hurt.”