Oakland Athletics bench coach Ryan Christenson came under fire Thursday night for raising his arm during a postgame celebration in what looked like a Nazi salute.
He made the apparent gesture while greeting closer Liam Hendriks after the Athletics’ 6-4 victory over the Texas Rangers. Hendriks pushed Christenson’s arm down and cameras showed him laughing and briefly raising his arm a second time.
The gesture was plastered across social media and Christenson issued an apology.
“I made a mistake and will not deny it,” he said in a statement 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.”
Oakland released a statement, apologizing for the “offensive” gesture.
“We do not support or condone this gesture or the racist sentiment behind it,” the team said. “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.”
Christenson, 46, has been with the Athletics since 2018. He played in the majors in 1998-2003.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.