Palace keeper Hennessey displayed deplorable ignorance of Hitler and Nazis
Wayne Hennessey was cleared by the FA over a racist gesture allegation, after the FA probed Hennessey for the racist gesture. The Wales goalkeeper, who had been photographed with his right arm raised and his left hand held across his mouth, said he had been attempting to attract the attention of the photographer, a French waiter called Jordan Bussolini.
The Palace keeper admitted to a lamentable lack of knowledge by telling the three-man panel that he did not know what a Nazi salute was. He submitted photographs to the panel of him making similar gestures during matches to attract the attention of team-mates.
The panel said Hennessey was “able to corroborate” his explanation with a series of photographs, including one that showed his right arm raised and left hand across his mouth in a “similar way” to the photo posted on Instagram.
An FA charge was found not proven after two members of the commission concluded the photograph, posted by the Germany midfielder Max Meyer on social media, had been misinterpreted.
It said the FA was “entirely justified” in bringing the case but that “rather than giving a Nazi salute, we think it more likely that Mr Hennessey was, as he says, trying to shout at and to catch the attention of the waiter.” Therefore – Hennessey will face no punishment.
“Improbable as that may seem to those of us of an older generation, we do not reject that assertion as untrue,” said the panel.
“In fact, when cross-examined about this Mr Hennessey displayed a very considerable – one might even say lamentable – degree of ignorance about anything to do with Hitler, Fascism and the Nazi regime.
“Regrettable though it may be that anyone should be unaware of so important a part of our own and world history, we do not feel we should therefore find he was not telling the truth about this.
“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.”
Hennessey was still advised to “familiarise himself with events which continue to have a great significance to those who live in a free country” in the written reasons, published by the regulatory commission on Tuesday. The panel held a full day’s hearing this month to scrutinise the incident, which occurred at the Bagatelle restaurant in Mayfair after Palace’s FA Cup third-round win over Grimsby on 5th January.