Soccer star Nicolas Anelka has found himself in the eye of a storm over a ‘Nazi’ gesture he scored his first goal in the game between West Bromwich Albion and West Ham on Saturday. Anelka celebrated his goal with a gesture known in France as ‘la quenelle’ (the dumpling).
The Daily Mail reports that the gesture, with the left hand held across the shoulder of the right arm pointing downwards, is also known as a reverse-Nazi salute. France’s Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron was quick to condemn the star striker’s actions, saying, “Anelka’s gesture is a shocking provocation, disgusting. There’s no place for anti-Semitism on the football field.”
Nicolas Anelka said the gesture was to honor his comedian friend Dieudonné Mbala. Of course, rather than apologize for any hurt his actions caused, Nicolas Anelka sent a tweet with a photograph showing President Obama, rapper Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce, with a similar gesture. Nice try but the two gestures aren’t comparable. President Obama and the others in the photo gesture was in reference to Jay Z’s hit song “Dirt Off Your Shoulder.” The corresponding gesture was meant to symbolize brushing away other people’s personal attacks.
— nicolas anelka (@anelkaofficiel) December 28, 2013
— Dieudonné Mbala (@MbalaDieudo) December 29, 2013
UPDATE (12/30/13) ITV News: Nicolas Anelka has agreed not to perform a controversial goal celebration again which was widely considered as anti-semitic in France, a statement released by his club West Bromwich Albion said.
It said: “The club fully acknowledges that Nicolas’ goal celebration has caused offence in some quarters and has asked Nicolas not to perform the gesture again. Nicolas immediately agreed to adhere to this request.”
Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri has also apologised “for causing any hurt to anyone” after a picture emerged of him appearing to make the quenelle gesture.
He said it had “absolutely nothing to do with being anti-semitic”.
Watch Nicolas Anelka’s alleged ‘anti-Semitic’ gesture: