On Saturday evening, Wayne Hennessey and his Crystal Palace teammates went out for a group meal following their 1-0 win over Grimsby Town in the Third Round of the FA Cup. During the evening, a photo of the squad was taken with Wayne Hennessey seen in the back left appearing to make an inappropriate gesture.
As you would expect, the image was quickly circulated across social media with numerous journalists raising questions over whether or not the Wales keeper had intentionally saluted whilst the photo was being taken, prompting Wayne himself to release a statement protesting his innocence. From a personal perspective, it’s incredibly difficult to see how he could make such a gesture freely without realising its obvious connotations but given the storm it created, it’s no surprise that Hennessey felt the need to offer up some sort of explanation.
— Robbie Welch (@RobWelch2000) January 7, 2019
This morning, another photo has been doing the rounds on Twitter of Wayne mid-match doing a very similar thing whilst trying to get the attention of one of Palace’s defenders, casting doubt over whether or not it’s just the way he (admittedly extremely naively) shouts. As is often the case with these things, it has generated more questions than answers in my mind. Why would a keeper cover his mouth in such a manner when trying to project their voice? Why would you simultaneously put your arm in the air when it’s obvious how it looks? Why would you randomly do a Nazi salute partway through a game against random opposition? It’s a truly confusing situation that is only likely to become more muddied as time goes on.
Part of me wonders whether or not Hennessey would have been better served not coming up with an excuse at all, as I’m sure you’ll agree, his explanation seems ridiculous to say the least but if and it of course remains a gigantic IF, he had no intention of doing a Nazi salute, it’s to be expected that he would feel the need to put his side of the story across.
The long and short of it in my mind is this. If he did mean to do it in the name of “banter” it’s both disgusting and idiotic to the extreme. If he didn’t, failing to show enough foresight to realise how it would be construed is still incredibly stupid on his part.