Photo courtesy of Action Images.
You’d figure players would learn by now not to celebrate goals with controversial gestures. But Nicolas Anelka became the latest professional to engulf himself in debate after celebrating his first of two goals against West Ham with a gesture described in his native France as a “Nazi salute in reverse.”
The gesture, as seen above, is dubbed 'la quenelle' and was made infamous by French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, who faces a ban from performing in his country for a history of sending anti-Semitic jibes in his shows. Dieudonne has also repeatedly been fined for hate speech, but apparently he’s found a fan in Anelka.
In fact, here’s a picture of Anelka doing the pose with M’bala M’bala himself:
Image via 101GG
West Brom manager Stewart Downing said Anelka’s celebration was dedicated to Dieudonne, and that anything else read into the gesture "is absolute rubbish."
Anelka won’t likely get a pass for repeating a gesture that many believe to have anti-Semitic connotations, even if he didn’t realize that at the time.
Whether the FA will take action against Anelka seems only a formality at this point, and rightly so. The Frenchman, who scored his first goals of the season Saturday (and first in the English game in two and a half years) may, and should, have to wait a long time before getting a chance to add to his tally.