A picture that NBA baller, Tony Parker took 3 years ago has resurfaced. The pic has resurfaced and brought on a whirlwind of troubles for Parker. In the photo Tony posed with the French comedian Dieudonné.
The San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker has apologized after being photographed giving a salute considered to be antisemitic. In his apology, he said the photograph had been taken three years ago, and added that he had not known at the time that the gesture could be “in any way offensive or harmful.”
The French NBA star was pictured giving the “quenelle”, which has been described as a “reverse Nazi salute”, with its originator, the French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala. Dieudonné, a controversial figure whose film The Anti-Semite was banned from the 2012 Cannes festival, maintains that it is intended as an anti-establishment gesture.
French authorities are currently considering banning performances by Dieudonné. French soccer star Nicolas Anelka, a friend of Dieudonné, provoked a furious reaction in France after he used the quenelle gesture in a Premier League match on Saturday.
On Monday, a Jewish human rights organisation, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, included Parker’s gesture in its list of the Top Ten Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Slurs of 2013, and issued a statement calling for an apology. Parker subsequently released a statement which said:
“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. 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. 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.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, responded: “The Simon Wiesenthal Center takes Mr Parker at his word. There is, however, one more crucial step that he needs to take: a statement in French to reassure 600,000 French Jews and the multitude of his young fans in France that he disassociates himself from the quenelle salute and everything it stands for.”
Anelka made the salute after scoring a goal during a 3-3 draw between West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United on Saturday. The striker, who faces a five-game ban on anti-discriminatory grounds, said he had performed the salute in tribute to Dieudonné. However, on Monday, Anelka said he would not make the salute again, and used Twitter to say:
“(The) meaning of quenelle: anti-system. I do not know what the word ‘religion’ has to do with this story! This is a dedication to Dieudonné.”
Anelka’s salute prompted condemnation across French society. The minister for sport, Valérie Fourneyron, called it “shocking and sickening”. On Twitter, Anelka continued:
“With regard to the ministers who give their own interpretations of my quenelle, they are the ones that create confusion and controversy without knowing what it really means, this gesture.”
Two other Premier League footballers, the Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri and the Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho, have been photographed performing the quenelle.