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Nicolas Anelka could face minimum five-match suspension for quenelle salute

Dec 29, 2013, 6:15 PM EDT

Nicolas Anelka is refusing to apologize, saying Saturday’s quenelle tribute was not anti-Semitic, never mind the person to whom he was paying tribute, French comedian Dieudonné, is seen as a right-wing, anti-Zionist figure. In raising his left hand to a down-pointing right arm, Anelka was appropriating the imagery of a perceived anti-Semite, even if the West Brom striker didn’t intend his actions to be hateful.

[MORE: Nicolas Anelka accused of ‘anti-Semitic’ gesture during goal celebration (video)]

Between that, his recalcitrant response, and the poor judgment showed in bringing these actions to the middle of Upton Park on Saturday, there are plenty of reasons for The FA to be concerned with Anelka’s actions. Given the two-game suspension Jack Wilshere was handed for raising his middle finger to fans at the Etihad, it’s no surprise Anelka’s facing an even longer ban, with England’s governing body potentially handing the West Brom striker a five-match sanction under anti-discrimination rules introduced in May.

As The Guardian reports, aggravating circumstances could extend that ban, though perhaps none of this would be necessary if Anelka wasn’t so stubborn in his defense of the actions. Had the 34-year-old simply apologized for his gestures and claimed ignorance of the effects, it’d be easier to look on Saturday’s actions with sympathy. After all, we’ve all done things with the best intentions only to have others highlight out our stupidity.

Instead, Anelka at French sports minster Valérie Fourneyron for calling the gesture disgusting. He’s also taken to Twitter to ask people to look beyond media coverage of his salute, implicitly dismissing the idea that he should have been aware of his actions’ negative consequences.

As collected by The Guardian:

In a series of tweets, Anelka has defended his actions, saying the quenelle celebration was intended to be anti-establishment. He tweeted: “I do not know what the word religion has to do with this story. This quenelle is a dedication to my friend [the comedian] Dieudonné. With regard to the ministers who have given their own interpretations of my quenelle … they are the ones that create confusion and controversy without knowing what this gesture really means. I ask people not to be duped by the mediaAnd of course, I am neither a racist nor an anti-Semite.”

source:  Getty Images

Nicolas Anelka scored the first two goals of his West Brom career in Saturday’s 3-3 draw at West Ham United, but the 34-year-old striker is facing a five-game ban after his quenelle salutes. (Photo: Getty Images)

The more this plays out, the more it looks like stupidity of some sort on Anelka’s part. Either he was innocently stupid, ignorant in thinking everybody would see his salute for his best intentions, or he’s being maliciously stupid in evoking a gesture that seems impossible to untangle from the politics of Dieudonné, its anti-Zionist creator. Making the bold (and probably erroneous) assumption you can every untangle imagery from its implications, Anelka’s asking the world to see Saturday through from his point of view, perhaps never considering his viewpoint has created this confusion.

In a previous post, we noted athletes like Tony Parker, Samir Nasri, Mamadou Sakho and Boris Diaw have also been photographed making a quenelle, but Parker doesn’t do so at the center circle of the AT&T Center. Nasri doesn’t celebrate Manchester City’s goals with the controversial salute, and Sakho’s pictures with Dieudonné have been in private. While it’s worth questioning the judgement each man’s shown, that’s all behavior from their personal lives.

Anelka’s brought this into the professional realm. On the occasion of his first goals with West Brom, he’s evoked a reverse Nazi salute, a disarmingly controversial way to mark his contributions. Given he seems oblivious to his potential offense, Anelka’s on course to test The FA’s new rules. Expect him to miss five games, minimum.

  1. seanb20124 - Dec 29, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Anelka says it was not meant to be offensive. Unless evidence points to the contrary, I say move on.

    • bellerophon30 - Dec 29, 2013 at 9:29 PM

      The evidence does point to the contrary though, that’s the problem. This comedian friend of his seems to be about one more performance away from getting arrested, and Anelka is apparently fully embracing his views.

      In private, Anelka’s views are his own, but he’s a rich, public figure, and subject to the rules and constraints that all of them are. Just play football, that’s all that’s needed.

      Though not for at least five games. Ten would be better.

      • reformed2012 - Dec 29, 2013 at 9:45 PM

        Guess we should ban free speech huh? If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

      • mvktr2 - Dec 30, 2013 at 12:33 AM

        While I find the idea of arresting someone for spoken words that aren’t threatening direct harm to be wholly disgusting I embrace employer’s rights to protect their product which Anelka’s actions could harm.

        The funny thing about liberty is it’s based upon tolerance, chiefly tolerating the bad behavior of others. The dangers of too much liberty are far preferable to the dangers of to little liberty.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Dec 30, 2013 at 11:54 AM

        Heat and kitchens?

        Right. You’ve got an intellectual point to make about how it should be fine for a world to tolerate public anti-Semitic acts.

        Jew haters are not the brightest people on the planet. In fact, they pretty much are the stupidest.

    • bellerophon30 - Dec 29, 2013 at 9:58 PM

      This isn’t infringing on Anelka’s freedom of speech, no one is saying that he should be arrested, other than perhaps some Jewish groups. He’s an employee of West Bromwich Albion Football Club, and is subject to whatever restrictions that they, the Premier League, and the FA place on him. And one of those restrictions is that he can’t do crap like that, and he should know that. Suarez got 10 games for the Evra incident, he should get the same.

  2. reformed2012 - Dec 29, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    My respect for Anelka just increased. His goal celebration was a dedication to his friend, the french humorist Dieudonne. The latter has been doing this act for at least a decade. This hand gesture signifies an acute discontentment with the sociopolitical environment. While it’s true that the gesture is made to express disdain towards the nefarious growing influence of Zionism in France (or anywhere else for that matter), it is certainly not antisemitic. Defending the rights of Palestinians against repressive Zionists is not antisemitic. Respect to you Mr Anelka!

    • koufaxmitzvah - Dec 30, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      Dieudonne has made his career lambasting Jews, denying the Holocaust, and performing anti-Semitic skits. If he is your hero, and 12 people think you’re the bomb because of it, then you should be publicly told that hate monger trash like you are not just victims of the Powerful Jew, but also because you’re the most pathetic assmonkeys in the universe.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Dec 30, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      Do you even know what Zionism is? Of course not, but we’re all supposed to say, That’s not a Hitler salute!

      Up yours, Champ.

    • unclemosesgreen - Dec 30, 2013 at 7:26 PM

      And simultaneously any respect anyone may have had for you should have just disappeared. How do you feel about the comedian’s ‘jokes’ about putting more Jews into ovens? Just a harmless little jape?

      You’re an idiot.

  3. reformed2012 - Dec 29, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    Political correctness is being used by the elites to suppress the common people. The Zionist has committed more atrocities in the century than the national socialists. Mass fraud in Wall Street and Mass Murder of Palestinians, to name a few.

  4. reformed2012 - Dec 29, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    -Supporting a free independent Palestinian state is not antisemitism.
    -Protest against Wall Street, Federal Reserve and corporate greed is not antisemitism.
    -Supporting world peace, religious equality, and personal privacy is not antisemitism.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Dec 30, 2013 at 1:33 PM

      Oh, you want to talk politics? If Palestinian autonomy is such a big deal, then why did the Palestinian leadership not only refuse to sign the peace treaty in 2000 granting them a state, but also not provide a counter-proposal while simultaneously starting a war (the 2nd Intifada) just after rejecting the peace treaty in 2000? And not only that, but if you’re so much into Palestinian autonomy, then why aren’t you criticizing the Palestinian leadership on rejecting the peace treaty offered in 2000 that would have given them a state?

      I know why…. Because you’re not really interested in Palestinian autonomy. You’re interested in spreading hatred about Jews and the State of Israel.

      But alas…. A Nazi salute is merely criticism of the State of Israel.

      • reformed2012 - Jan 2, 2014 at 12:04 PM

        I didn’t know there are pro-zionist Republicans that watch soccer

      • koufaxmitzvah - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:09 AM

        Sure, I’m a Republican because I support Israel. And you’re an intellectual because you can talk circles around the facts in this case to make sure we all know you’re the real victim.

        Funny thing about Jew bashing idiots….. They’re always the true victims.

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