Oakland A’s bench coach Ryan Christenson apologized Thursday for making a gesture that many found offensive.

As A’s players were coming off the field following a home win over the Texas Rangers, a telecast showed Christenson holding his right arm up and straight away from his body in a pose that resembled a Nazi salute. The player he was greeting, closer Liam Hendriks, could be seen instructing Christenson to bend his arm and bump forearms, at which point Christenson laughed and made the gesture again.

Affirming that Christenson’s gesture “looked like a Nazi salute,” the A’s said in a statement provided to The Washington Post, “We do not support or condone this gesture or the racist sentiment behind it. This is incredibly offensive, especially in these times when we as a Club and so many others are working to expose and address racial inequities in our country,” the team continued. “We are deeply sorry that this happened on our playing field.”

Video clips of the episode quickly went viral and were met by some with outrage, while others asserted that Christenson was going for a high-five or a similar greeting and that his gesture was being misinterpreted.

The video did appear to show that the 46-year-old coach was made aware there was an issue with what he did, and showed him recreating the moment in amusement. After the game, Christenson acknowledged that the second time he stuck his arm out, it was to show he realized it looked like a Nazi salute.

Christenson claimed that after Hendriks told him, “No, no straight arm, you have to bend your arm,” he said, “Oh, I see what you mean, oh no, it’s like ‘Heil Hitler.’ ”

“I apologize for everything,” Christenson said to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“I’m cringing inside picturing myself,” Christenson told the newspaper. “Of course I’m sorry for it – it’s like standing there with my middle finger up. Anyone should know better.”

A former outfielder for the A’s, Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers from 1998 to 2003, Christenson began his coaching career as a manager in Oakland’s minor league system in 2013. The native of southern California was named bench coach for the big league club in October 2017.

Christenson reportedly interviewed in 2019 with the Pittsburgh Pirates for their manager’s job, as did fellow A’s coach Mark Kotsay, before they hired Derek Shelton.

Christenson indicated that he was contacted Thursday by A’s General Manager David Forst about the gestures, and that he knew why the executive wanted to speak with him because of his admonishment by Hendriks.

“Obviously I wasn’t doing that intentionally,” Christenson told the Chronicle. “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.”

A short time later, Christenson issued a statement that the A’s provided to The Post: “I made a mistake and will not deny it. Today in the dugout I greeted players with a gesture that was offensive. In the world today of Covid, I adapted our elbow bump, which we do after wins, to create some distance with the players.

“My gesture unintentionally resulted in a racist and horrible salute that I do not believe in. What I did is unacceptable and I deeply apologize.”

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