NBA star Tony Parker drawn into 'quenelle' anti-Semitic row
December 31, 2013 -- Updated 1118 GMT (1918 HKT)
Tony Parker is a hero in his native France and with basketball fans in the United States.
- NBA star Tony Parker apologizes for using "quenelle" gesture
- Parker said he did not realize it was associated with anti-Semitism
- French footballer Nicolas Anelka says he will not repeat the "celebration"
- Two other French EPL stars admit to doing 'quenelle' signal
(CNN) -- NBA superstar Tony Parker was forced to apologize Monday for using the same anti-Semitic gesture which has landed former France international footballer Nicolas Anelka in hot water.
Anelka, who plays for English Premier League side West Bromwich Albion, performed the so-called "quenelle" -- pointing his right arm straight down and touching that arm with his left hand -- in celebrating a goal in a match against West Ham Saturday. Some have called the "quenelle" a Nazi salute in reverse.
Anelka is a friend of controversial French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, who popularized the "quenelle" and has been prosecuted for anti-Semitism.
With the English Football Association (FA) investigating the incident, Anelka has promised not to do it again.
Read: Anelka defends 'shocking' gesture
"The club fully acknowledges that Nicolas' goal celebration has caused offense in some quarters and has asked Nicolas not to perform the gesture again. Nicolas immediately agreed to adhere to this request," said a statement on the West Bromwich Albion website Monday.
Anelka's compatriot Parker came under the spotlight Sunday when a picture from three years ago surfaced of him doing the "quenelle."
The point guard has released a statement saying he was not aware at the time that it was offensive or harmful.
"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," he said.
Read: Parker stars in NBA Finals opener
"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.
"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."
Anelka has also denied his gesture was anti-Semitic and stated on Twitter that it was simply a "special dedication" to his friend Dieudonne.
Read: Is France a racist nation?
Two other French EPL players were drawn into the controversy Monday, with Manchester City's Samir Nasri and Mamadou Sakho of Liverpool, photographed performing the gesture.
Nasri took to social media to say his gesture was to symbolize "being against the system."
He tweeted: "It has absolutely nothing to do with being anti semitic or against Jewish people. I apologise for causing any hurt to anyone who might have."
Sakho said he was tricked into performing the signal. He wrote on his Twitter account: "This photo was taken six months ago, I did not know the meaning of this gesture, I got trapped!"
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
They do things differently at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, up in the mist-cloaked valleys of the Basque country. And it is working.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 1353 GMT (2153 HKT)
He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.