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 during Thursday’s game against the Texas Rangers.
Ryan Christenson 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.
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.
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.
“I think there is incompetence that can read as innocence, I suppose. And that’s the best benediction I could give this dude. But it’s telling (that) one of the pitchers on this team, Liam Hendriks, violates baseball protocol and grabs his forearm to bend the arm to prevent it from being the gesture we all know.
“Your intent when it comes to this stuff doesn’t matter. We make that mistake all the time with racism and bigotry. It’s not what you intend, it’s how the people have the right to feel in response to seeing that given certain historical facts and conditions.”
“I think we have to be very careful when we are interpreting people’s intentions,” he said. “It looks to me like he had realized what he had done and kind of took a comedic approach to it.”
Canha says the A’s aren’t on the defensive.
“I don’t think we need to change people’s minds,” he said. “I think people make up their minds about this sort of thing. And where they stand on it.
“I’ll say this, I think it’s a positive thing that people are talking about this. That our generation is at a place where we’re talking about something like this and having discussions. It’s a sign of progress.”
Canha hopes people will re-evaluate the situation with reason, including Christenson’s second arm raise.