OAKLAND, California (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Oakland Athletics bench coach Ryan Christenson has apologized for raising his arm during a postgame celebration in what looked like a Nazi salute.
Christenson made the gesture while greeting closer Liam Hendriks following the A’s 6-4 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday.READ MORE: Fourth Stimulus Check: Will You Get Another Relief Payment?
Hendriks immediately pushed Christenson’s arm down and cameras then showed him laughing and briefly raising his arm a second time.
Christenson faced criticism after video of the gesture circulated on social media.
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“I made a mistake and will not deny it,” Christenson said in a statement issued through the team. “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 is unacceptable and I deeply apologize.”
The A’s called the gesture “offensive” and apologized for it.READ MORE: North Texas Getting Brief Break From Above-Normal High Temps
“We do not support or condone this gesture or the racist sentiment behind it,” the team said in a statement. “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.”
No discipline has been announced against Christenson.
“Ryan Christenson is fully supported by everybody in our clubhouse and they know who he is. So do I. Obviously it didn’t look great but that was not his intent at all. I know that for a fact,” manager Bob Melvin said Friday before a game against Houston.
“He’s just not that guy. I’d say he’s progressive, very progressive as a person. Everybody feels bad for him right now ‘cause they know who he is,” Melvin added.
A short team meeting was all that the A’s needed because Christenson had full support, Melvin said.
The 46-year-old Christenson played six years in the majors from 1998-2003.
He later spent several years coaching in the minors before becoming bench coach for the A’s in 2018.MORE NEWS: Rescuers Recover Body Of Bicyclist Who Flipped Over Bridge Railing Into Lake Lavon
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)