Former New York Red Bulls forward Patrick Klimala has denied performing the Nazi salute in Israel, saying his goal celebration was “totally misunderstood by some fans.”
- Patrick Klimala scored against Hapoel Jerusalem to give his team a 2-1 lead
- His celebration aroused anger, and he was forced to apologise
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Former Red Bulls striker Patrick Klimala has denied performing a Nazi salute after scoring on Saturday during a match against Hapoel Jerusalem.
The Hapoel Beer Sheva player found the net in the 54th minute, and proceeded to give a nod towards his own home fans afterwards.
While the celebration angered many across social media, Klimala insisted it was not what it seemed, and that he wanted to “greet our fans”.
“My gesture while celebrating the goal was completely misunderstood by some of the spectators,” he wrote on Instagram.
As a Pole who respects the history of both countries, I would never think of performing the Nazi salute. During my stay in Poland, I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau and fully understood the importance of Jewish history and heritage.
Patrick Klimala performed the ceremony above (left) but denied it was a Nazi salute
Klimala played for the Red Bulls from 2021-22 after joining from Scottish giants Celtic
After my goal, I just wanted to say hello to our fans. Certainly there was nothing other than that. I’m sorry if anyone took it the wrong way.
Finally, this is a great opportunity to once again thank our amazing fans for all the support and I’m glad we got another important win. Have a nice week.
Klimala’s gesture and apology come after a racist scandal rocked his former team this month.
Red Bulls forward Dante Fanzier admitted to using a racial remark against the Earthquakes on April 8, after which he was suspended for six games from Major League Soccer.
New York Red Bulls forward Dante Fanzier has been suspended by MLS for six games
San Jose quarterback Jeremy Ebobisi said he heard a racist remark after the game, and the footage showed players on both sides reacting by pushing Fanzier away from a scuffle after the word was uttered.
Vanzeir was also fined an undisclosed amount and will be required to participate in additional league-mandated training and instructional courses.
Klimala played in New York for two seasons from 2021-22 before joining Hapoel Beer Sheva this winter.
He scored 13 goals in 57 league matches.