Spurs guard Tony Parker under fire for 'quenelle' gesture, alleged anti-Semitism
Just a day after soccer star Nicolas Anelka was criticized, French media outlets publish pictures of San Antonio guard doing gesture with comedian.
By Mitch Abramson / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
The Knicks and Nets both visit the San Antonio Spurs this week, where the story could be more serious than just a tale of two bad teams facing a title contender.
Spurs star guard Tony Parker came under fire on Sunday for his alleged use of an anti-Semitic gesture described as a “reverse” Nazi salute. Parker was asked by the Simon Wiesenthal Center to apologize.
French media outlets published a photo taken earlier this year of the Belgian-born Parker doing the “quenelle,” as it is known, at the side of Dieudonne, a comedian and accused anti-Semite who coined the gesture, according to The Algemeiner, a New York-based newspaper that covers Jewish and Israel-related topics. The Spurs host the Nets on Tuesday and the Knicks on Thursday.
“It’s the Nazi salute in reverse,” Roger Cukierman, leader of the French partner of the World Jewish Congress, told Reuters.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group named after the Nazi hunter, urged Parker on Sunday to “apologize for his past use of the quenelle ‘Nazi’ salute,” according to the Algemeiner.
“As a leading sports figure on both sides of the Atlantic, Parker has a special moral obligation to disassociate himself from a gesture that the government of France has identified as anti-Semitic,” Cooper said.
Parker, 31, was photographed in September and October by French media outlets making the gesture backstage at Dieudonne’s concerts.
The NBA, along with the Spurs, had no immediate comment. Parker had 22 points in nearly 36 minutes in a comeback 112-104 win over the visiting Kings on Sunday night.
The Parker news came a day after French soccer star Nicolas Anelka was heavily criticized for his use of the same gesture following his goal for West Bromwich Albion in Saturday’s 3-3 draw at West Ham in the English Premier League.
Anelka was seen pointing his right arm down and laying his left hand near his right shoulder to make the gesture. Anelka tried to explain away the salute by saying it was nothing more than a homage to Dieudonne, his friend, but the action was condemned by French Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron. And the European Jewish Congress requested that Anelka be disciplined by the English authorities, CNN reported Sunday.
Dieudonne has been fined for inciting racial hatred and hate speech on several occasions.