Former MLB player Cody Decker told TMZ Sports that anti-semitism is rampant in baseball after Oakland Athletics bench coach Ryan Christenson apologized for a gesture he made during a game that resembled a Nazi salute, adding that "the amount of Nazis jokes I've dealt with throughout my entire career is pretty staggering."
"It's a very, very, very Christian sport, and not all of the players that are very, very Christian are the brightest of Christians," Decker said. "That's not knocking Christianity by any stretch of the imagination, I'm just telling you what I've dealt with throughout my career by being called multiple Jewish slurs by fans, by teammates."
Christenson appeared to make the Nazi salute twice while the Athletics were doing their elbow-bump celebration after a 6-4 win Thursday against the Texas Rangers. Closer Liam Hendriks tried to correct Christenson's gesture to match the rest of the team's.
"No, no straight arm, you have to bend your elbow," Christenson said Hendriks instructed him, per the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser. "Oh, I see what you mean, oh no, it's like 'Heil Hitler.'"
The Athletics and Christenson released the following apology:
"He seemed like he meant his apology," Decker told TMZ. "And I appreciate the apology. I really do."
Decker added he feels Christenson should be suspended by Major League Baseball for making the gesture:
"I would like him to educate himself on the situation, understanding why this is so offensive, why this isn't funny to people like me and honestly players like me. Let him know what I've been through that's he's never been through and what my family's been through that his family luckily didn't have to go through and why this is unacceptable."
Decker, 33, played in one MLB season for the San Diego Padres in 2015, appearing in eight games. He spent the majority of his professional career (2009-19) in the minor leagues.