Ex-MLB player speaks out about ‘rampant’ anti-Semitism in American baseball

Ex-San Diego Padres player Cody Decker says he faced anti-Semitic harassment and slurs during his pro baseball career.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Jewish former Major League Baseball player Cody Decker spoke out about “rampant” anti-Semitism in American baseball after a post-game Nazi salute made by an Oakland Athletics bench manager went viral.

In an interview with entertainment news site TMZ, Decker described the extensive anti-Semitism he experienced during his playing career.

Decker played for the San Diego Padres and for Israel’s national baseball team in the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and 2017. He retired from playing in 2019.

“You think anti-Semitism is not rampant throughout baseball?” he said, incredulously. “It’s a very, very, very Christian sport and not all of the players that are very, very Christian are the brightest of Christians.”

“That’s not knocking Christianity by any stretch of the imagination, I’m just telling you what I’ve dealt with throughout my career by being called multiple Jewish slurs by fans, by teammates.”

Decker spoke to TMZ about an incident in which he and another Jewish teammate were called Jewish slurs for the entirety of a game by an opposing team’s fans.

He added he was released from a different minor league team the day after he was confronted by the team’s owner “about why I don’t believe in Jesus.”

Decker described another incident in which he was out with teammates at a local bar when some women joined their group at their table. After his teammates “casually mentioned” that Decker was Jewish, the women “demanded that [he] leave the table.”

“This was in 2012,” said Decker. “This is the world we live in.”

Last Friday, Oakland Athletics bench coach Ryan Christenson was filmed raising his arm in what appeared to be a Nazi salute while congratulating players leaving the field after a game.

Christenson apologized via Twitter, saying, “In the world today of COVID, I adapted our elbow bump, which we do after wins, to create some distance with the players.”

“My gesture unintentionally resulted in a racist and horrible salute that I do not believe in. What I did is unacceptable and I deeply apologize.”

But Decker said the prevalence of anti-Semitism in the league made him doubt the sincerity of Christenson’s apology.

“The amount of Nazi jokes I’ve dealt with throughout my entire career is pretty staggering,” he told TMZ.

“I can almost, almost excuse the first one [gesture] as a lapse in judgement while he’s giving high-fives. But after the first time, he decided to double down and do it again for a second time.”

When asked what he believes is an appropriate punishment for Christenson, Decker said, “I think a fair thing would be a suspension.”

Even if Christenon’s gesture was truly unintentional, Decker said he should still be sanctioned. “Actions have consequences,” said Decker. “That’s not cancel culture, that’s life.”

Decker also said he felt the Oakland A’s public statement that Christenson’s gesture “looked like a Nazi salute” was their way to downplay the event.

“No, he did a Nazi salute,” said Decker. “He did a Nazi salute twice.”

“Let’s not sugarcoat around it. I really, really despise their response. I hate every half-measure response Major League Baseball always makes.”