Originally posted on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 1/3/14
Sports and entertainment are often at the front of pushing social issues and awareness of such issues to the public's consciousness. While sports especially are sometimes viewed as a sacred ground devoid of politics and "serious" issues, they creep in and make us think about ourselves and our society. Sports are a reflection of society in many, many ways. So what does sports say about French society right now? Several French sports stars including Tony Parker have been publicly chided for giving the "quenelle" salute, a sort of inverted Nazi salute that a controversial French comedian has made popular as a form of anti-establishment gesture. Of course the guy who has made the "quenelle" famous also has been convicted on multiple occasions of running afoul of France's laws against hate speech. Parker was caught taking a photo with its creator, Deiudonne, a few years ago and it surfaced recently amid growing controversy over the gesture. After it began making the media rounds, Parker released an apology through the Spurs:  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. When I 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 aware of the seriousness of the 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. If there is one thing that can come out of this, it is education and some form of understanding. It has brought this issue to the forefront where it was not once known, at least to an American audience. I would even admit to not knowing what the quenelle was until this story. I then happened to come accross a story from a Holocaust remembrance group that documented several instances of pepole giving the salute in front of Holocaust memorials, concentration camps and Jewish schools and synogogues. It might have had one meaning to French society that was innocuous at one time, but now it is being clearly used as a Neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic salute. And that cannot be tolerated. In that sense, it is great that Parker released a statement apologizing for the salute once the photo of him surfaced. He did not realize its meaning and educated himself. You wish more people in society took this approach. Recognizing their own ignorance and learning from it and apologizing. His coach, Gregg Popovich, also addressed it applauding Parker for apologizing and defending his point guard (h/t Dan McCarney of Spurs Nation): I talked with Tony. I felt bad for him. Tony doesn’t have an anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim or anti-Christian bone in his body. That gesture was made three years ago and at that time he thought it meant something totally different. Which it did, to him. It’s morphed into something else over time. But it’s a tribute to his maturity and his leadership to understand it has morphed, as he found out, into something pretty hateful. He realized he needed to say something, that’s it not appropriate. There’s enough bigotry and racism and hatred in the world already. That thing has been taken too far. When he was informed of that and understood it, he was very quick to denounce it and understand what he had to do. So I was proud of him. Again, it seems the symbolic gesture started off as one thing and has been transformed into something else (much like the swastika, which is also a Native American symbol that can be seen throughout the American desert). Still the question needs to be asked: Why are so many French athletes associating themselves with someone who has been convicted for violating hate speech laws and is promoting a symbol that has come to represent anti-Semitism? The number of French athletes, Boris Diaw also has done the symbol in a photo and more recently soccer star Niklas Anelka did it twice after scoring goals as a salute to the Deiudonne (he was publicly chastised by the European Jewish Congress), who are performing this symbol is quite alarming. Again, maybe it has a meaning that has been completely coopted and now the society is catching up to its new meaning while Deiudonne takes advantage of the sports stars' celebrity to spread his own message. In either case, you have to wonder why so many people are associating with this star. Maybe we do not just get the joke. Then again, everything Nazism stands for, along with the Holocaust and anti-Semitism and racial and religious hatred, is not something to joke about. [follow]
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Best basketball players never to play in the NBA
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Carmelo: Cryptic Instagram posts were about Phil Jackson

NFL folks think Jabrill Peppers ‘more hype than substance'?

Joe Haden: Winless Browns the 'laughingstock of every joke’

Did Del Rio give Reid the stink eye after Thursday’s game?

Lane Kiffin reportedly believed Houston job was his

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Harbaugh stands by claim Pats broke rules in 2015 playoff game

Green, Durant laughed at Jazz coach for not surrendering

Art Briles sues Baylor officials for libel, slander

Giants FB has home vandalized with swastika, Trump's name

Raiders G Kelechi Osemele out Thursday with illness

Red Sox send Brewers $100 as final piece of Tyler Thornburg deal

Why UCLA's Lonzo Ball is the most interesting player in college hoops

The NBA goes courtside to curbside: Drinks and rides for discerning fans

The best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

CFB Crash Course, Graduation: Final grades and awards

NHL All-Star Game fans are in search of another John Scott

Box Score 12/9: Carey Price has had enough of your nonsense

MLB Winter Meetings, Day 4: News, notes and rumors

Matt Ryan is now Mr. Pick-Two

Ten most significant developments of the NBA season

Ten bold predictions for NFL Week 14

Sporting life: Gifts for the fan who is always on point

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 3: News, notes and rumors

Spurs News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Why UCLA's Lonzo Ball is the most interesting player in college hoops

The NBA goes courtside to curbside: Drinks and rides for discerning fans

CFB Crash Course, Graduation: Final grades and awards

The five best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

NHL All-Star Game fans are in search of another John Scott

Sporting life: Gifts for the fan who is always on point

Matt Ryan is now Mr. Pick-Two

MLB Winter Meetings, Day 4: News, notes and rumors

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 3: News, notes and rumors

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker