Oakland Athletics bench coach Ryan Christenson has apologized after making a gesture which the Major League Baseball team said “looked like a Nazi salute” following Thursday’s 6-4 victory over the Texas Rangers.
Christenson raised his arm to make the gesture as players walked off the field. Closer Liam Hendriks pushed Christenson’s hand down and bumped his forearm, before the 46-year-old coach turned around and raised his arm a second time.
“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.”
Christenson clarified the gesture was unintentional to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Obviously I wasn’t doing that intentionally,” he said. “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 team said in the statement they were deeply sorry over the incident.
“This is incredibly offensive, especially in these times when we as a club and so many other are working to expose and address racial inequities in our country,” they said.
Christenson, 46, played eight major league seasons with the Athletics, Diamondbacks, Brewers and Rangers, then joined Oakland as a bench coach in 2018.