OAKLAND, Calif. — Major League Baseball has been in touch with the Oakland Athletics about their bench coach making a gesture that appeared to be a Nazi salute following a win over the Texas Rangers.
No discipline has been announced against coach Ryan Christenson, who has apologized for the gesture.
“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.
Christenson apologized late Thursday for raising his arm during the postgame celebration. He made the gesture while greeting closer Liam Hendriks following a 6-4 win over the Rangers.
Hendriks immediately pushed Christenson’s arm down. Cameras showed Christenson laughing and briefly raising his arm a second time.
Christenson faced criticism after video of the gesture circulated on social media.
“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.
“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.”
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.
AP Sports Writer Josh Dubow contributed to this report.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.