Cody Decker Shares Experiences With Anti-Semitism in Baseball, Criticizes Ryan Christenson's Apology


Oakland bench coach Ryan Christenson's offensive gesture received a lot of attention from the MLB universe, and former baseball player Cody Decker, a host of the RADIO.COM podcast "Swings & Mrs." was one of many figures who weighed in on the issue.

The incident in question was one in which Christenson seemed to raise his arm in a Nazi salute not once but twice as several Athletics players filed into the dugout.

It's not the first time Decker, who is Jewish and who has played for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic, has seen anti-Semitism in the sport throughout his career.

"I am a Jewish former baseball player who had to deal with an outrageous amount of anti-Semitism throughout my entire career," Decker said, adding that he actually had it easy because his last name didn't necessarily suggest that he was Jewish.

Decker also told TMZ in another interview that anti-Semitism was "rampant" in pro baseball, and that he has dealt with a "staggering" amount of Nazi jokes in his career. Thus, what Christenson did wasn't anything new to him, but that doesn't make it any less serious.

Christenson was apparently told to put his arm down, which made him realize his mistake. However, it didn't stop him from putting his arm into the air again afterward.

"I'm going to let off the fact that he said... the first one might have been a lapse of judgment," Decker said. "Okay, I'm willing to accept that, that he thought he was being funny. But after it was corrected and then he turns around and did it again, that's not a lapse in judgment, that's doubling down.

"I can't (excuse the first one), I'm just trying to give someone the benefit of the doubt."

What additionally angered Decker, outside of the act itself, was Christenson's apology, as he felt it didn't acknowledge what Jewish ballplayers go through.

"It was 100% intentional," Decker said. "You did this very intentionally, so drop the unintentional s***. You did it. Plain and simple. And if you don't understand why it's offensive to someone like me, well you haven't walked a day in my f****** shoes.

"You didn't deal with a manager who pulled you in the office and wanted to talk with you about Jesus because he found out you were Jewish. And then, the optics of the whole situation after I was released the very next day. Did it have something to do with me being Jewish, I don't know, but the optics sure as hell look like s***. Did I say anything about it? No. Was I pissed, and am I still pissed about it? You bet your ass I am."

After recounting more experiences, including a team chaplain who wouldn't leave him be, Decker again emphasized his perspective and how people aren't aware of what Jewish ballplayers go through on a daily basis.

"If you don't think this is s*** that we deal with all the time, you're wrong," Decker said. "I got lucky. I grew up in Santa Monica, California, a very Jewish community... so I was very sheltered from this my entire life. It wasn't until I got into college that I started to really see it, and when I got to pro ball that I really saw it."

Decker says he won't hold a grudge forever against Christenson, as he thinks some education on the matter will help prevent cases of ignorance and systemic misunderstanding from occurring in the future.

Watch the full clip above.

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