Lithuanian Basketball Spectator Fined $3,910 for Racist Taunts at Olympics

Is the picture above showing a Nazi gesture aimed to insult the black stewards or just a chance snapshot of a rowdy fan?

From the AP:

A Lithuania fan made Nazi gestures and monkey chants during a game against Nigeria on Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to a charge of “racially aggravated behavior” and was fined $3,910 by a London court. A lawyer for the fan said Wednesday his client believed such behavior was acceptable at sports events at home.

Was he guilty? Take a look at the pictures and judge for yourself:


Some undercover Olympics officials spotted the guy and people were reporting “monkey noises” were being made to mock the Nigerian basketball players.

When the stewards came, this picture was captured which seems to be one rowdy fan making a Nazi salute – could also be a high-five? Notice the other audience members have their hands cupped to their face as if chanting in unison, but at the officials. For their part, the stewards just seem confused.


This was the statement they released about the incident:

“Historically, Lithuania has suffered at the hands of brutal and fascist regimes in the form of both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and its people fully understand the horrific pain and psychological and lasting damage of ethnic discrimination,” reads the English-language communiqué.

“The incident on Tuesday, in which one of the basketball team’s traveling supporters was arrested, was totally regrettable and has sent shock waves throughout the tiny nation, with its people in total disbelief at such an accusation being leveled at one of their own,” the fans said.

“However, the gesture and chanting of this fan and all others was totally misunderstood and misinterpreted by the undercover police officers who made the arrest. The gesture in question – the raising of one or two hands up after clapping in this manner – is a gesture commonly used in Lithuania at sports events and is in no way meant to represent a Nazi salute. Indeed, the very thought of it doing so is totally abhorrent to the Lithuanian supporters,” reads the communiqué.

Some of the reports of this incident in America bare absolutely no mention of the statement trying to explain what happened. I tried to post both sides to be fair.

I am no expert on the history of Lithuania or it’s popular sports gestures, but it is true that they suffered much at the hands of the Nazis. On the other hand this kind of idiocy pops up all over the place.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.