Posted December 30, 2013

Spurs’ Tony Parker apologizes for using controversial ‘quenelle’ salute in photo

Ben Golliver, San Antonio Spurs, Tony Parker
Tony Parker

Tony Parker (right) is averaging 18 points and 6.1 assists this season. (Danny Bollinger/NBAE/Getty Images)

Spurs guard Tony Parker apologized Monday after he drew criticism for a photograph depicting him flashing the “quenelle” gesture, a French hand signal that is said to represent a reverse Nazi salute.

The five-time All-Star and longtime French basketball captain said in the statement that he was unaware of the gesture’s anti-Semitic implications when he was photographed doing the “quenelle” alongside controversial French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, who has been prosecuted and convicted on multiple occasions for anti-Semitic remarks in France.

“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 the statement, which was released by the 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.”

The “quenelle” is executed by holding one arm straight and bringing the hand of the other arm to that shoulder, as shown below. The Daily Mail reports that Dieudonné has portrayed the “quenelle” as an “anti-establishment gesture.”

(@martin76130)

Tony Parker (right) does the “quenelle” in a controversial photo. (@martin76130)

Earlier Monday, the Simon Wiesenthal Center included Parker on its “Top 10 Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Slurs List” and called on him to apologize for the photograph.

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center is urging NBA star Tony Parker to apologize for using the Nazi-like Quenelle introduced by anti-Semitic French comedian, Dieudonné,” a statement from the international Jewish human rights organization read. “The salute has been denounced by French authorities and leaders of the French Jewish community. It is now widely used by neo-Nazis; far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen posed using it. Another prominent French sports figure, French soccer star, Nicolas Anelka, flashed the salute during a game in England in late December.”

Parker distanced himself from the “quenelle” and said he hoped his experience could serve as a teachable moment.

“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,” he said in the statement. “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.”

Sky.com reports that Anelka, a West Bromwich Albion striker who flashed the “quenelle” during a game against West Ham on Sunday, will discontinue the goal celebration in light of the controversy.

“Nicolas said that he performed the gesture to dedicate his goal to a friend [Dieudonné] and vehemently denied having any intention to cause offense,” West Bromwich Albion said in a statement.

The NBA has not yet issued a statement in response to the photograph or the controversy.

The Spurs will host the Nets in San Antonio on Tuesday.

Bottom photo via @martin76130

39 comments
rmelnychuk23
rmelnychuk23

Then again I am the most powerful anti-semite in all of Ukraine.


rmelnychuk23
rmelnychuk23

No, he should not have apologized.. I used this in front of a jew synagogue and the Jews just walked by.. I guess Jews in USA don't know what this means yet..

TomCarberry
TomCarberry

Parker should not have apologized, but the fact he did shows the massive power of far right wing Zionists.  When "journalists" around the world refer to the quenelle as a Nazi salute, you can feel the powerful hand of money punching the typewriter keys.  


Israel runs the largest concentration camp in the history of the world and murders Palestinian children on a regular basis, but if someone complains, the entire media calls that person an anti-Semite.  Israel stole Palestine from the Palestinians with the help of the US and European powers.  Nothing will change that fact.  And it maintains its rule with the iron fist of the most powerful army in the middle east.


People who think of Israel as a decent democratic state also believe the US spends most of its money on the military in the interest of peace.

M20
M20

I'm anti-Zionist myself, but I've looked into this Dieudonné character and he's straight up anti-Semitic. He has said some things that are really horrible even if you try to read them as dark comedy or satire - he's really obsessed with hating Jews. He wasn't always that way though, and it wouldn't surprise me if Parker really did have no idea how extreme the guy has become, so I buy the apology. I doubt Parker had any idea what the gesture meant. Dieudonné made the gesture up himself. It's not some historical or widely known thing.

stagger
stagger

Only the French could come up with such a feminine insult. Of course the only other gesture they have is the waving of a white flag.

malgus
malgus

Being ignorant of whatever a quenezzle is, I'd guess he was doing a "get down bro!" type signal.

TheDistrict
TheDistrict

I guess I don't understand the context of the salute, but I'm pretty sure Hitler and the Nazis wouldn't exactly be friendly to Parker and Anelka based on their race. Strange. 

VirendraVirendra
VirendraVirendra

" Dieudonne and his supporters claim it is merely an anti-Zionist, anti-establishment signal and the 47-year-old has threatened to sue those suggesting otherwise."





dannyt33
dannyt33

Who cares... This isn't news. All you internet perfectionist act like you don't do or say anything that's not socially acceptable when certain people aren't around. How bout you focus on something more important.

Sulkaman
Sulkaman

Nice try, Tony.  Back off so dramatically after the pressure and denouncement of your behavior is too much to handle. You knew exactly what you were doing.

Osoelperro
Osoelperro

Man the Zionists Jewish Defense League sure is out here in full force.  

Sam77ipir
Sam77ipir

Nobody forced Tony to make the gesture.  He did it willingly, of his own accord.

MikelArtist
MikelArtist

hands up, hands down, hands forward, hands side..... what else...?  head shoulder knees and toes knees and toes... eys and ears and mouth and nose... head shoulder knees and toes.... 

thebigdawg3
thebigdawg3

 Tony Parker and Nicolas Anelka just became my two favorite athletes.

Lohikaarme
Lohikaarme

Can that institute please post all the hand signals we are not supposed to make so we don't end up in their annual list?

BruderJakob
BruderJakob

The SImon Wiesenthal Center is the stupidest institute I've ever heard of. Once a year they publish a list and demand an apology from all people. Last year that list included Jakob Augstein, son of the founder of the SPIEGEL magazine. They said he had propagated anti-semitic thinking. He merely wrote in a column that Palestina had a right to be in Jerusalem as well. I don't think they know what antisemtic means. Probably I'll be on the list now ...

friendly--neighborhood--scrawler
friendly--neighborhood--scrawler

Tony should not have to apologizies forrrrr S%# !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

this is some white people feeling guilty for all thier wrongs they have done in the past, instead of making it right with all the people they affected over the years... they think passing laws will make things all right...

France instead of worrying about some symbol why not treat the minorities of your country better.. instead of having them targets of the police.... the only diffence..... france is not killing minorities in camps, but are they really free in your country to be themselves?????? 

Toney keep doing your thing... who care what the symbol is a version of... if its not the ACTUAL Nazi symbol who gives a BLEEP !!!!

Jingbrit
Jingbrit

Doesn't forcing someone to issue a humiliating public apology for something that had no bad intention also incite hatred - namely the hatred of the person forced to apologise towards the rabidly ultra-sensitive?


Getting upset for a private photo of some silly pose taken 3 YEARS AGO, for goodness sake!

CalTony
CalTony

Oh please. This clown knew exactly what that gesture means. Guys like this are going to act stupid and fall back on the old "I'm sorry, I did not know" excuse. What a POS.

mams4
mams4

This guy has a history of bad choices,  1)  who would cheat on Eva Longoria,  2) Fighting in the club like a child and almost losing an eye.  3) Taking pics with Bigots making Nazi salutes 

mams4
mams4

The guy in the picture is a well known bigot,  how did he not know the meaning?  Why is he hanging out with a Holocaust denier in the 1st  place? 

DSM
DSM

Wasn't Parker caught a few years ago trying to cheat on his wife with a teammate's wife?  Class.

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@Sam77ipir That's true, but if he didn't know about its significance as an anti Jewish gesture and now that he does, he has apologized, what's the problem?

mams4
mams4

@BruderJakob  That is like saying the Turks have a right to divide Berlin.  Reading this comment your fairly stupid or ignorant yourself.  Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel, not some made up country.  Jordan is the Palis state. 

sticksandstones
sticksandstones

@CalTonyArguing by name-calling means you are the clown and POS, Tony.  I personally do not see why he needed to apologize at all.  There are many people more concerned about the plight of Palestinians and free speech than in not hurting the feelings of Zionist extremists. Israel is a notorious human rights abuser and needs to be called out for that.

sticksandstones
sticksandstones

@mams4People without a reason argument just call people names.  Nobody denies there were Jews killed--only that by labeling this "the holocaust" Jews deny all the other genocides perpetrated throughout history (by Stalin, Mao, Turks on Armenians).  What I leanred in Hebrew school was that Jews only care about themselves.  That's the are not welcome in many countries except the USA, where they have lobbied and pushed into Middle Eastern wars that served no purpose except for that of Zionists.

Marty2
Marty2

@mams4 Exactly.  Look up this comedian.  He has a fairly long history of such statements and behavior.  Tony, being French, would know his character if not exactly what this gesture really means (which is apparently, still debatable.)

Marcus885uu
Marcus885uu

@Bearsclone @Sam77ipir Look at the photo.  See the sly smiles on their faces?  He knew what the gesture meant.  And he made it willingly.  He's a grown man.  He should man up and admit it.

sticksandstones
sticksandstones

@mams4@BruderJakobJews have always been a minority in this area.   Read some history about the subject.  The idea of Israel--Zionism--was created in Europe little more than 100 years ago.  The Jewish tribal God Jahweh may have promised this land to Abraham, but he forgot to mention there were other people living there.  The entire Old Testament is a record of Hebrew wars and attempts to take advantage of other peoples.  All this aggression is retold to make the Israelite seem heroic, but it's not hard for a objective person to see they never wanted peace with anybody.  Still don't. 

BruderJakob
BruderJakob

@mams4 @BruderJakob Palestinians have been living there for 2000 years. The land was divided up by the UN after WWII and then there was a war which was won by Israel. Now, I think both should live in peace there, it's about the Israeli attitude of "This is our land, now deal with it." It's not  Israel's land, it's also Palestinian. Palestine has been recognized by over 100 countries as an autonomous state. Talk to any Muslim and you'll see a whole other side of the story, trust me. I have nothing against Jews, I'm against boiling up hatred and using the term anti-semitic under wrong circumstances.

Chessmaster
Chessmaster

@mams4@BruderJakobI'd have gladly supported you here, if only you didn't jump to insults and prove your own intolerance. You're only giving credence to his argument. Grow up!

mams4
mams4

@sticksandstones   anti-Zionism is a front for anti-Antisemitism its been proven time and time again.  In fact anti-Zionism IMO is the most antisemitic thing one can be for.  Ethnic cleaning of Jews from their only homeland.  The Arabs already have 22 countries, explain to us why we need a 23rd.  

Chessmaster
Chessmaster

@Marcus885uu@Bearsclone@Sam77ipirParker did "man up" by giving a plausible explanation and apology. There's nothing else he CAN do. No one can look at a face in a photo and tell whats in their mind or intent. Get some perspective, there's far worse than this out there to complain about.

BruderJakob
BruderJakob

@Chessmaster Where did I insult anyone? I'm just saying the list is stupid and causes hate. If you criticize a Jew, you are likely to be called antisemitic. I mean seriously, what is this list. What would you say if the Pentagon released a list of 30 names who spoke negatively about the US and forced them to apologize? I don't agree with Parker's gesture, I wouldn't have known about its meaning unless reading it in an article. Poor judgment on his part for sure.