SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker apologized Monday for a newly surfaced photograph that shows him making the same gesture with anti-Semitic connotations that French soccer player Nicolas Anelka displayed while celebrating a goal last weekend, creating an uproar in their home country.
The photograph shows Parker and French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala making a gesture known in France as a “quenelle,” which critics describe as an inverted Nazi salute.
Parker said in a statement released through the Spurs the photograph was taken three years ago.
Parker, who was born in Belgium but raised in France, said he didn’t know at the time “it could be in any way offensive or harmful.” He said he thought it was part of a comedy act and said he apologized for any misunderstanding or harm.
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“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,” said Parker, 31.
The photo surfaced on social media after Anelka made the same gesture celebrating a goal he scored for West Bromwich Albion in an English Premier League match Saturday, causing an outcry in France.
Anelka has agreed not to perform the same gesture again, his team said in a statement.
Parker said in his statement that he would never repeat the gesture.
Dieudonne contends the salute, which involves pointing one straightened arm downward while touching that arm’s shoulder with the opposite hand, is anti-establishment and not anti-Semitic.
Horford’s season ends
ATLANTA – Atlanta Hawks center-forward Al Horford will have season-ending surgery Tuesday to repair his torn right pectoral muscle.
Horford, the Hawks’ leading scorer and rebounder, suffered the injury in the first overtime of Thursday night’s 127-125 double-overtime victory at Cleveland.
Horford, 27, is averaging 18.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.
• Tyreke Evans made a pull-up jumper from 17 feet with 1.2 seconds left and the host New Orleans Pelicans beat the Portland Trail Blazers 110-108.
Jrue Holiday scored 15 of his season-high 31 points in the fourth quarter and tied a season high with 13 assists for the Pelicans, who have won four in a row at home.
• LeBron James returned from a groin injury to score 26 points on his 29th birthday, and the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat beat host Denver 97-94. James was injured during a game Friday in Sacramento and sat out Saturday’s 108-107 Heat victory in Portland.
Denver has lost seven games in a row.
• Goran Dragic had 26 points and eight assists to lead visiting Phoenix to a 107-88 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. The Suns have won 10 of their last 12.
• The Washington Wizards are at .500 (14-14) after beating the host Detroit Pistons 106-99. John Wall scored 29 points for Washington.
• Connie Dierking, a center who was part of a 1965 trade that brought Wilt Chamberlain to Philadelphia, died Sunday. He was 77.
Dierking averaged 10.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in 10 NBA seasons.