The soccer federation of Greece has banned a player from the nation's teams for life after he celebrated a goal yesterday with a Nazi salute, the Guardian reports. The federation handed Giorgos Katidis, 20, the ban for what it deemed a "severe provocation": The salute "insults all the victims of Nazi bestiality and injures the deeply pacifist and human character of the game," it said. But Katidis insists he was only pointing to a friend in the stands and didn't know what the salute meant, the BBC reports.
"I am not a fascist and would not have done it if I had known what it meant," he said on Twitter. His team's German coach supported him, saying Katidis "most likely saw such a salute on the internet or somewhere else and did it without knowing what it means." At Yahoo! Sports, Ryan Bailey wonders if Katidis might be that "naive/stupid. ... After all, this is a man half-witted enough to apparently have Get Rich or Die Tryin' tattooed just above his junk." Either way, it's bad timing: Today is the 70th anniversary of the deportation of the first Greek Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau during World War II.