NBA star apologises for 'quenelle' gesture

Basketball icon Tony Parker says he regrets his actions after becoming the latest sportsman to get embroiled in the quenelle controversy
San Antonio Spurs defensive guard Tony Parker has been forced to issue an apology after a photograph emerged of him posturing in a salute considered to be anti-Semitic.

Parker is the latest sportsman to be pictured giving the 'quenelle' gesture, made infamous by controversial French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala.

West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka instigated a furious reaction back in his native France after using the quenelle to celebrate scoring against West Ham on Saturday, and since then Parker, Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho and Manchester City's Samir Nasri have all been pictured performing the salute.

And the subsequent backlash has prompted Parker to release a statement apologising for his actions.

"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," the 31-year-old said.

"When I was photographed making that gesture three years ago, I thought it was part of a comedy act and I did not know that in any way it could be harmful or offensive.

"Since I have been made aware of the seriousness of this gesture, I will certainly never repeat the gesture and sincerely apologise 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.”