Wayne Hennessey: Crystal Palace goalkeeper cleared of Nazi salute after showing ignorance of Hitler | UK News
Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey has been cleared of making a Nazi salute after an FA panel believed his argument he did not know what one was.
The regulatory commission said: “Improbable as that may seem to those of us of an older generation, we do not reject that assertion as untrue.”
But it criticised the Wales international, describing him as having shown “a very considerable – one might even say lamentable – degree of ignorance about anything to do with” fascism and Adolf Hitler.
“All we would say (at the risk of sounding patronising) is that Mr Hennessey would be well advised to familiarise himself with events which continue to have great significance to those who live in a free country.”
A photo, taken during a team dinner following the Premier League side’s FA Cup win over Grimsby in January, showed Hennessey with his right arm raised and his left hand under his nose.
It was posted on Instagram by his Palace teammate, German midfielder Max Mayer.
The FA charged Hennessey, claiming the gesture brought the game into disrepute and was an aggravated breach of rules because it included a “reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion and/or belief”.
Hennessey denied giving a Nazi salute and argued he was waving and shouting to the person taking the photo, an Italian waiter, and put his hand over his mouth to make the sound carry.
The panel said it was not challenged by witnesses that “Mr Hennessey does have rather a loud voice and tends to be impatient”.
The commission also claimed he provided screenshots and photographs of himself on a football pitch, showing him with his right or left arm “raised at a similar angle (presumably to attract the attention of the defence in front of him)”.
It said: “That someone later misinterpreted the gesture, may illustrate the perils of social media and the need for people to be careful to avoid such a situation.
“It has certainly also revealed a disappointing ignorance on the part of Mr Hennessey with important parts of our culture and history.
“But that does not amount to proof that he has committed what would otherwise be a serious breach of (the rules).”