Oakland A’s coach apologizes for apparent Nazi salute after Texas Rangers game

Ryan Christenson raised arm during postgame celebration in what looked like Nazi salute

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 20: Ryan Christenson coach of the Oakland Athletics poses for a portrait at the Oakland Athletics Spring Training Facility at Hohokam Stadium on February 20, 2020 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

OAKLAND, Calif. – Oakland Athletics bench coach Ryan Christenson has apologized for raising his arm during a postgame celebration in what looked like a Nazi salute.

Christenson made the gesture while greeting closer Liam Hendriks following the A's 6-4 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday.

Hendriks immediately pushed Christenson's arm down and cameras then showed him 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.”

Christenson spoke directly to Susan Slusser, the A’s beat writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, about the incident.

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.


About the Authors:

RJ Marquez is co-host of KSAT News Now and reports for Good Morning San Antonio. He's been at KSAT since 2010 and covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms, including his Spurs newsletter. RJ has reported stories for KSAT Explains.