A’s bench coach Ryan Christenson forced to answer for what looked to be a Nazi salute during a celebration
Christenson’s motion was caught on video, and he was called into GM David Forst’s office the very next day.
As Athletics closer Liam Hendriks was coming off the field, Christenson went to congratulate his hurler, but rather than a simple elbow or pre-approved socially-distant celebration, he went with the arm swing most frequently associated with Nazi party. Hendriks saw what his coach was doing, and attempted to dissuade him from continuing by grabbing Christenson’s arm and forcing it downward, leaving many to assume the veteran reliever knew his intentions.
Christenson understands the outrage being directed at him, but he assured the media and the A’s he was not attempting a Nazi salute
“Obviously I wasn’t doing that intentionally. I just blacked out, my mind wasn’t there and I spaced out. I’m sure it looks terrible. I did it but it was not intentional. I don’t know what more to say,” Christenson said, per the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser. “I’m cringing inside picturing myself. Of course I’m sorry for it — it’s like standing there with my middle finger up. Anyone should know better.”
Christenson claims he was trying to make a chopping motion with a bent elbow, but instead failed to do so and kept his elbow straight, which is why Hendriks reacted so harshly. Hendriks evidently backed all of this up in another interview.
Such a horrific blunder on camera should make Christenson more aware of his surroundings and antics moving forward, and surely we’ll take him at his word here. There’s nothing in his past to suggest he would make such an ill-informed and insensitive joke on the field of play. Christenson was even up for several managerial openings the past few seasons, and is held in high regard around baseball.