Sports | August 7, 2020 9:59 am

Oakland A’s Bench Coach Gives Nazi Salute to Celebrate Win

Ryan Christenson made the gesture while greeting victorious closer Liam Hendriks

Ryan Christenson of the A's
Bench coach Ryan Christenson of the Oakland Athletics in 2020. (Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty)
Getty Images

Oakland Athletics bench coach Ryan Christenson may not get three strikes before he’s out of baseball.

To celebrate the team’s 6-4 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday, Christenson stood by the dugout with arm raised straight in what looked like a Nazi salute to greet closer Liam Hendriks after he recorded the game’s final out and notched a save.

Hendriks clearly recognized what the gesture looked like and did not return Christenson’s greeting while seeming to tell him to change what he was doing with his arm. Christenson indicated that he understood, then turned towards the stands and raised his arm up straight again.

After footage of 46-year-old Christenson’s gesture made the rounds on social media and people became outraged, he was asked about the situation.

He also issued an apology through the team: “I made a mistake and will not deny it. 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 team issued a separate statement and called the gesture “offensive.”

“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 spent several years coaching in the minors after playing six years in the majors from 1998-2003. He became a bench coach for the A’s in 2018.

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.