Oakland A coach Ryan Christenson said the seemingly Nazi salute was ‘unintentional’

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Fans were outraged Thursday when cameras captured Oakland A bench coach Ryan Christenson raising his arm in a seemingly Nazi salute, a move Christenson says was accidental.

“Obviously, I wasn’t doing this on purpose,” Christenson told Susan Slusser of The Chronicle. “I just passed out, my mind wasn’t there and I walked away. I’m sure it looks terrible. I did, but it wasn’t intentional. I don’t know what to say more.

After Oakland’s 6-4 victory over the Texas Rangers, Christenson could be seen raising his right arm in front of him. Quickly, Liam Hendriks, closer to A, reached out to push Christenson’s arm down. Christenson told The Chronicle that he was trying to do “karate” with Hendriks and claimed not to realize the optics of how his arm was extended.

After the initial gesture, cameras show Christenson laughing and briefly extending his arm a second time.

“I made a mistake and I won’t deny it,” Christenson said in a statement. “Today, in the canoe, I greeted the players with an offensive gesture. In today’s world of COVID, I’ve adapted our nudge, what we do after wins, to create some distance with the players. My gesture unintentionally resulted in a racist and horrible salute which I do not believe. What I have done is unacceptable and I deeply apologize. ”

Christenson, 46, has been with the A’s for most of his playing and coaching career. After retiring as an outfielder, he joined the team’s minor league system as a coach. He was named A’s bench coach in 2018.

“We do not support or condone this gesture or the racist sentiment behind it,” the A’s said in a statement Thursday evening. “It is incredibly offensive, especially in these times when we, as a club and so many others, are working to expose and correct racial inequalities in our country. We are deeply sorry that this has happened on our playground. ”

Katie Dowd is the editor-in-chief of SFGATE. Send him an email: [email protected] | Twitter: @katiedowd

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