British soccer player cleared of wrongdoing after claiming he did not know he was giving Nazi salute
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Wayne Hennessey, a goalkeeper for English Premier League club Crystal Palace who appeared to give a Nazi salute in a recent photo, was cleared of wrongdoing after a three-person panel found he was unaware of the offensive gesture.

Hennessey told the Football Association (FA) panel that he "did not even know what one was," referring to a Nazi salute that he appeared to make in a photograph taken during a team dinner, according to the Associated Press.

The panel said the goalkeeper demonstrated “a very considerable — one might even say lamentable — degree of ignorance about anything to do with” Adolf Hitler or the Nazi regime.

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“Improbable as that may seem to those of us of an older generation, we do not reject that assertion as untrue,” the panel said in its decision. “All we would say (at the risk of sounding patronizing) is that Mr. Hennessey would be well advised to familiarize himself with events which continue to have great significance to those who live in a free country.”

The photograph that captures Hennessey making the gesture was posted on Instagram by the player's German teammate Max Meyer. The image shows Hennessey holding his right arm up in the air and his left hand above his upper lip and below his nose.

The picture was taken during a team dinner following a win by the team in January, according to the AP.

The FA initially charged Hennessey for the incident, saying the gesture broke rules because it included a “reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion and/or belief.”

Hennessey said during a hearing on the matter that he was waving to the person taking the photo and put his hand above his mouth to help the sound carry.

The panel ruled in favor of Hennessey, dropping any charges against him.