Tony Parker apologizes for making offensive gesture

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs guard and French citizen Tony Parker apologized for using the "quenelle" hand gesture that's considered by some as anti-Semitic.

Tony Parker issued a statement on Monday to apologize for making a hand gesture that many consider anti-Semitic, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

Parker reportedly made the gesture at EuroBasket 2013, according to the Express-News. But it was a more recent photo of Parker making the hand gesture with French comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala that sparked criticism and prompted the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization, to demand an apology from Parker.

That the point guard did on Monday. Parker said that the photo with Dieudonné was taken three years ago, and since it was part of the comedian's act, he didn't know it was considered offensive.

"While this gesture has been part of French culture for many years, it was not until recently that I learned of the very negative concerns associated with it," Parker said in a statement.

"Since I have been made aware of the seriousness of this gesture, I will certainly never repeat the gesture and sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding or harm relating to my actions. Hopefully this incident will serve to educate others that we need to be more aware that things that may seem innocuous can actually have a history of hate and hurt."

Here is the photo that raised eyebrows.

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Dieudonné has made the hand gesture popular among the French ever since a political campaign in 2009, claiming it to be anti-authoritarian, but he has long been criticized for doing the quenelle. BBC describes the gesture as "touching or gripping your shoulder with one hand while holding the palm of your other hand outstretched and pointing to the ground." Some consider it something between an "up yours" gesture and a Nazi salute.

Recently, soccer star Nicolas Anelka was seen doing the quenelle as part of a post-goal celebration.

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