(Reuters) – San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker apologized on Monday after a three-year-old photo surfaced of him making the same anti-Semitic gesture that has landed former France striker Nicolas Anelka in trouble.
Known in France as a “quenelle,” the gesture is said to be a reverse Nazi salute and has been made famous by French comedian Dieudonne, who started using it in 2005.
“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,” Frenchman Parker said in a statement released by National Basketball Association’s Spurs.
“When l was photographed making that gesture three years ago, I thought it was part of a comedy act and did not know that it could be in any way offensive or harmful.
“Since I have been made aware of the seriousness of this gesture, I will certainly never repeat the gesture and sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding or harm relating to my actions.”
The photo of Parker, a French national team member and three-time NBA champion, shows him making the hand gesture with Dieudonne.
Anelka made the controversial gesture after scoring a goal for his English Premier League soccer team West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. He is facing an FA investigation.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue)