A panel charged with investigating possible Nazi salute by Wayne Hennessey has cleared the goalkeeper of wrongdoing. They said he showed a "very considerable – one might even say lamentable" ignorance of Nazi Germany.
A panel of the English Football Association (FA) on Tuesday cleared Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey of wrongdoing after he was investigated for possibly performing a Nazi salute.
Hennessey, who also plays for the Wales national football team, claimed that he "did not even know" what a Nazi salute was when he was charged with making it.
"Improbable as that may seem to those of us of an older generation, we do not reject that assertion as untrue," said the panel. "In fact, when cross-examined about this Mr. Hennessey displayed a very considerable – one might even say lamentable – degree of ignorance about anything to do with Hitler, fascism and the Nazi regime."
In his defense, Crystal Palace — a South London club in the Premier League — produced photographs of Hennessey making similar gestures to teammates during matches.
'Waved and shouted'
In a photo posted to Instagram in January by German teammate Max Meyer, Hennessey is seen making a gesture that appears similar to the Nazi salute. The FA charged Hennessey with aggravated breach of rules for making "reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion and/or belief."
However, Hennessey said in a tweet after the photo was posted that he "waved and shouted at the person taking the picture to get on with it and at the same time put my hand over my mouth to make the sound carry."
"All we would say (at the risk of sounding patronizing) is that Mr. Hennessey would be well advised to familiarize himself with events which continue to have great significance to those who live in a free country," the panel said.
The Auschwitz Memorial and Museum tweeted at Hennessey with material about visual symbols of Nazism, saying: "Read what those symbols stand for below."
ls/msh (dpa, Reuters, AP)