By Chuck Schilken
12:48 PM PST, December 30, 2013
San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker issued an apology through the team Monday after a controversial photo of him surfaced over the weekend.
In the picture, which is apparently several years old, Parker is seen posing with French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, with both men making a gesture that is known in France as a "quenelle" and considered by many to be anti-Semitic.
"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 wrote. "When l was photographed making that gesture three years ago, I thought it was part of a comedy act and did not know that it could be in any way offensive or harmful.
"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."
French media outlets published the photos over the weekend, as well as similar photos of Parker's Spurs teammate and fellow Frenchman Boris Diaw with the comedian making the same gesture, which is described as an inverted Nazi salute.
"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," Parker wrote.
French soccer star Nicolas Anelka caused an outcry in his country over the weekend by making the same gesture after scoring a goal. He said on Twitter that the pose was “anti-system” rather than anti-Semitic.
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