Salute Me Not
POSTED: 03 January 2014
NICOLAS Anelka stole the thunder in a rather controversial way before 2013 closed down its curtains.
By doing a gesture that was frowned upon by some quarters, the West Brom striker found himself in hot water.
He irked them after celebrated the first of his two goals with a "quinelle" sign during their Premier League game at West Hame which ended in a 3-3 draw last Saturday.
Reason? His gesture has been linked to anti-establishment, but also alleged anti-Semitic, connotations in his homeland, France.
During his exultation, Anelka touched a shoulder with one hand, keeping the other arm pointed downwards in a gesture that is described by critics as an inverted Nazi salute.
That gesture was mainly unfamiliar to fans of English football but in France, it is a subject of fierce national debate.
To calm angry nerves, West Brom said Anelka has agreed not to repeat the controversial sign as he waits to see if sanctions would be slapped against him.
Done deliberately or not, Anelka defended that he had not meant to offend anyone of Jewish faith, explaining that the action was dedicated to his comedian-friend Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, also a political activist who is said to be the self-proclaimed inventor of the salute.
Now, he is facing a possible five-game ban.
While the incident is still under probe by The Football Association (FA), West Brom have accepted Anelka's explanation for the celebration, but have issued strern warning not to do it again.
From this action, West Ham are seen to cooperate fully and accept whatever punishment is slapped on their player.
While other players (with Anelka's fellow Frenchman, NBA star Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs also getting embroiled in controversy for posting a picture doing the salute with the same comedian) also commit the same act, Anelka appeared to have bore the brunt of people whose feathers he ruffled.
The FA should look into this matter seriously.
Anelka, regardless of his excuses, has offended the dignity of some groups through an act seen as discriminatory to the point that it was even labelled as "sickening".
The incident wherein Luis Suarez bit Branislav Ivanovic was the runaway most controversial story in the Premier League in 2013. Anelka's salute just made it in time to enable him to join the infamous list.
He should learn a neat lesson here. Others too, or footballers to be more specific, who should be more aware about the things they do when they are in action.
As we hop into 2014, let's hope to get more of the good news on and off the pitch. The bad ones simply belong to the year that was.***
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