Parker said in a statement via the Spurs organization that he took the photo three years ago and did not know at the time that the gesture had negative connotations.
“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," Parker said. "When l was photographed making that gesture three years ago, I thought it was part of a comedy act and did not know that it could be in any way offensive or harmful."
"Since I have been made aware of the seriousness of this gesture, I will certainly never repeat the gesture and sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding or harm relating to my actions," he added. "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.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center's Rabbi Abraham Cooper, who previously called on Parker to make an apology, said he "takes Mr Parker at his word." But he also called on the basketball star to make a similar statement in French.
"There is, however, one more crucial step that he needs to take: a statement in French to reassure 600,000 French Jews and the multitude of his young fans in France that he disassociates himself from the quenelle salute and everything it stands for," Cooper said.
According to BBC News, however, others see it as a version of the Nazi salute.
The gesture involves touching or gripping your shoulder with one hand while holding the palm of your other hand outstretched and pointing to the ground. Some describe it as a combination of the bras d'honneur with a bent arm (which means "up yours") and the Nazi salute.
In several controversial incidents, people have been photographed making the salute outside a Paris synagogue and the Auschwitz death camp.
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