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Sunday, December 29, 2013

French soccer player gives Nazi salute

French soccer player Nicolas Anelka, who plays for the British West Bromwich Albion team, may be facing a lengthy ban (not lengthy enough) after giving a Nazi salute as a goal scoring celebration in a British Soccer League game on Saturday.
The 34-year-old striker thrust his straightened right arm downwards while tapping his bicep with the other hand after scoring a goal in a game in Britain between his West Bromwich Albion team and West Ham United.
The gesture - an imitation of a salute frequently used by a French comedian friend of Anelka's who has been convicted several times for anti-Semitic public comments - was immediately and widely condemned.
France's sports minister, Valerie Fourneyron, called it a "shocking, sickening provocation" and said there is "no place for anti-Semitism and inciting hatred on the football pitch".
British media reported that the Football Association was investigating the incident, while the European Jewish Congress demanded English Premier League officials ban Anelka.
"This salute is merely a lesser known Nazi salute and we expect the same kind of punishment to be handed down by the authorities as if Anelka had made the infamous outstretched arm salute," said European Jewish Congress president Moshe Kantor in a statement.
Online, a storm brewed, with some Twitter users calling Anelka, a former member of France's national team, "loathsome" and "racist".
Anelka himself took to Twitter to try to defuse the row, saying in messages in French and in English: "This gesture was just a special dedication to my comedian friend Dieudonne."
West Bromwich Albion's coach, Keith Downing, echoed that in a post-match press conference in which he said the footballer was "totally surprised" by the backlash.
Anelka's salute, Downing said, was "dedicated to a French comedian he knows very, very well... He is totally unaware of what the problems were or the speculation that has been thrown around."
Either the coach is a fool or he is a damned liar - either way he should be suspended as well. French courts have fined Dieudonne seven times for anti-Semitism - including this gesture - and he may yet be banned from performing in France.
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls released a statement Saturday in which he said he would seek to ban Dieudonné's performances altogether.
"Despite a conviction for public defamation, hate speech and racial discrimination, Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala no longer seems to recognize any limits," the statement, read, according to France 24.
"Consequently, the interior minister has decided to thoroughly examine all legal options that would allow a ban on Dieudonné’s public gatherings, which no longer belong to the artistic domain, but rather amount to a public safety risk."
It's long past time. 

Much more here.

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At 1:37 PM, Blogger Smijj said...

Was a bit of a shock to see that, and the reaction. A lot of attempts to down play this. Let's hope the FA take this seriously.

And it's Football, because you play with your feet.


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