AEK Athens midfielder Giorgos Katidis raises his hand in a Nazi style salute, as his teammate Roger Guerreiro looks on, as he celebrates scoring the winning goal in a Greek league game against Veria in Athens' Olympic Stadium, Saturday, March 16, 2013. (Photo: AP)
ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greek soccer player Giorgos Katidis has been banned from his national team for life after giving a Nazi salute while celebrating a goal in the topflight league.
Greece's soccer federation said Sunday in a statement that the AEK Athens midfielder's gesture "is a deep insult to all victims of Nazi brutality."
The 20-year-old Katidis gave a Nazi salute after scoring the go-ahead goal Saturday in AEK's 2-1 victory over Veria in the Greek league. He pleaded ignorance of the meaning of his gesture - right arm extended and hand straightened. He claimed on his Twitter account that he detests fascism.
AEK and the Greek league are considering separate sanctions. AEK fans have demanded Katidis' dismissal from the team.
Katidis has played for Greek national junior teams but not the senior side.
Original post below:
(TheBlaze/AP) -- AEK Athens midfielder Giorgos Katidis has earned rebukes from politicians, fellow athletes and fans after giving an apparent Nazi salute in celebration of a goal he scored in the Greek league.
Pictures show the man raising his right arm in the well-known salute after scoring the go-ahead goal in the 84th minute over visiting Veria on Saturday.
In one photo, Katidis' Brazilian-born teammate Roger Guerreiro looks at him with an expression of astonishment.
Moreover, video shows that as he's tackled by enthusiastic teammates Katidis does everything he can to keep his arm up -- it's not just an unfortunate screen shot.
Here's the telling video, via the Huffington Post:
Struggling with extreme poverty and unemployment issues, the neo-Nazi "Golden Dawn" party has been gaining traction in Greece in recent years. Their members are sometimes associated with abusing women and immigrants.
But 20-year-old Katidis has pleaded ignorance of the meaning of his gesture. On his Twitter account, he even claimed that he detests fascism.
His German coach Ewald Lienen corroborated the story, saying the player doesn't have an "idea about politics."