Nicolas Anelka quenelle salute: player denies racism

Nicolas Anelka has hit the self-destruct button again. Anelka is a player who could have been a world great but the 34-year old West Brom man changed clubs too often and has created too much controversy throughout his career. The latest mark on his character actually came after he scored a goal for West Brom against West Ham in yesterday’s tense six-pointer that ended 3-3.

The Frenchman has denied that the goal celebration was racist and has even posted an image of American President Barack Obama making the same sign on his Twitter account as a way of defending himself. Anelka’s ‘quenelle’ salute is being investigated by the FA as it’s associated with anti-Semitism in Europe. In Anelka’s home country the sports minister Valerie Fourneyron hasn’t held back calling the player’s use of the sign “disgusting” and “shocking”.

Fourneyron said: “Anelka’s gesture is a shocking provocation, disgusting. There’s no place for anti-Semitism and incitement to hatred on the football field. Anelka is claiming innocence saying: “This gesture was just a special dedication to my comedian friend Dieudonne,” he said on his Twitter account. Dieudonne has been convicted of anti-Semitic behaviour charges but he insists that the ‘quenelle’ is an “anti-establishment gesture” rather than a racist one.

Anelka now faces a possible ban from the FA who are extremely tight on regulating racism in the sport. Kick It Out, the sport’s anti-racism campaigners, commented on the situation in a statement: “The campaign is in contact with partners in England and France regarding this matter and has offered its support to the Football Association in any forthcoming investigation.”

Whether Nicolas Anelka meant to cause controversy or if he was a bit naive about his comedy friend’s gesture actually doesn’t matter. He’s hit the self-destruct button once more and we’re not sure how many more lives Anelka has on the football pitch.

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