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Celebration gone wrong

Mar 17, 2013, 10:57 AM EDT

AEK Athens' Giorgos Katidis celebrates a goal during a Super League soccer match against Veria at the Olympic stadium in Athens

AEK Athens midfielder Giorgos Katidis let the emotion of scoring the winning goal versus Veria in the Greek League get the better of him on Saturday with what appeared to be a Nazi style salute to supporters.

The Greek Football Federation EPO wasn’t amused and quickly handed down the harshest penalty possible by banning Katidias for life from all national teams.

“The player’s action to salute to spectators in a Nazi manner is a severe provocation, insults all the victims of Nazi bestiality and injures the deeply pacifist and human character of the game,” EPO said in a statement.

Social media was quick to pounce on the former captain of the Greek U19 national team with both Twitter and Facebook being used as forums by political parties.

His timing couldn’t have been worse as today (Sunday) marks the 70th anniversary of Greek Jew deportations in Nazi concentration camps in the Second World War.

Katidis has denied that he gave a Nazi salute. “I am not a fascist and would not have done it if I had known what it meant,” Katidis said on his Twitter account.

Katidis has offered up the following explanation for the salute saying that he was simply pointing to Michalis Pavlis, a team-mate in the stands who is battling health problems. Certainly a more plausible excuse than the one provided by Joey Barton who in August of 2010 was accused of making the same salute.

Footballers have said many times that when they score a goal they lose their minds for 5-10 seconds. We can now add Katidis to that list.

  1. surly1n1nd1anapol1s - Mar 17, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Clearly a disgrace. Even more so that he appears clueless about the country’s history of the last world war.

  2. seanb20124 - Mar 17, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Don’t cross the line

  3. mianfr - Mar 17, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    His German manager said he knows nothing about politics… I’m inclined to chalk this one up to soccer players just being dumb.

  4. schlom - Mar 17, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    We should all applaud the penalty handed down by the Greek soccer federation.

  5. bellerophon30 - Mar 17, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    I’m sorry, but I’ve never used a Nazi salute to point at someone, however far away they are.

  6. inhokewetrust - Mar 17, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    I think he was telling everyone where Paulo Di Canio was sitting…..

  7. footballer4ever - Mar 17, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    It’s easy to judge someone from afar; Having said that, run a deep investigation on this case and still issue a punishment that will be constructive to society, those offended by it , make it a learning opportunity to the player, any other footballers and not a destructive judgement to the player only.

  8. mdac1012 - Mar 17, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    So either he is; A) A racist, fascist piece of garbage; B) Not a racist, but showed ridiculously poor judgement and insensitivity or C) Neither A nor B and is instead just historically ignorant and dumb. No matter what, he comes out of this looking terrible and should be banned from the Greek National Team on principle.

  9. mvktr2 - Mar 18, 2013 at 12:41 AM

    I simply can’t judge this event from the information here, not a knock on the article. The article says ‘what appeared to be a nazi style salute’, not exactly definitive. Point being I’m not willing to crucify on one image alone without seeing it for myself. Additionally what would be the point of making a nazi salute? I’m simply looking for context. Context is almost everything in understanding something like this.

    • mdac1012 - Mar 18, 2013 at 8:36 AM

      Checkout a video of the incident, it’s clearly a Nazi salute. I would be interested to know in what “context” you think it would be acceptable to give that gesture to a crowd?

      Like I wrote before, either he is a nazi or not a nazi and instead the single dumbest athlete alive, which would be an incredible achievement itself.

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