San Antonio Spur Tony Parker today responded to allegations that he was photographed making an 'Anti-Semitic' gesture which some have compared to the stiff armed Nazi salute, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has called on Parker to apologize, saying the gesture, called the 'quenelle' has been associated with racist organizations, and has been called the 'Nazi salute in reverse.'
"While this gesture has been part of French culture for many years, it was not until recently that I learned of the very negative concerns associated with it," Parker said in a statement. "I thought it was part of a comedy act and did not know that it could be in any way offensive or harmful."
The gesture is part of an act by a French comedian named Dieudonné, who was photographed along with Parker making the gesture, which involves placing the right hand over the left shoulder. It is seen in France as an expression of 'solidarity' with fascist groups, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.'
"I will certainly never repeat the gesture and sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding or hard relating to my actions," Parker said. "Hopefully this incident will serve to educate others that we need to be more aware that things that may seem innocuous can actually have a history of hate and hurt."