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Former soccer player apologizes for Nazi salute at pro-Israel rally

A former professional soccer player has apologized for making a Nazi salute at a pro-Israel rally in Los Angeles on Sunday. Stefany Ferrer Van Ginkel, who played for the Angel City Football Club in 2022, was caught on camera giving the “Sieg Heil” gesture from the passenger seat of a car driven by another soccer player, Samim Haydari.

Video sparks outrage online

The video of the incident was posted online by the watchdog group StopAntisemitism, which identified the two soccer players and condemned their actions. The video shows Ferrer Van Ginkel and Haydari driving past a group of pro-Israel demonstrators in Beverly Hills, who shout “Shame on you!” at them. Ferrer Van Ginkel then raises her right arm and flashes the Nazi salute, while Haydari smiles and waves.

The video quickly went viral and sparked outrage on social media, with many users calling for the soccer players to be banned from the sport and face legal consequences. Some users also pointed out that Ferrer Van Ginkel is a Brazilian native and Haydari is of Afghan descent, and questioned their motives for supporting the Nazi ideology.

Soccer club denounces former player

Angel City FC, the Los Angeles-based women’s soccer club that Ferrer Van Ginkel played for in 2022, issued a statement on Monday condemning her actions and distancing itself from her. The club said that Ferrer Van Ginkel’s contract was not renewed at the end of the year and that she has not been affiliated with the club since November 2022.

Former soccer player apologizes for Nazi salute at pro-Israel rally

“Stefany Ferrer Van Ginkel does not play for Angel City Football Club, nor has she been affiliated with the club since November 2022. We condemn her recent actions and statements,” the club said.

According to a now-deleted Instagram post, Ferrer Van Ginkel and Haydari recently launched Juega Bonita, a brand “created to grow the girls soccer game.” Haydari was last listed as a player with United City FC, a developmental team, in 2022.

Soccer players issue apology

Ferrer Van Ginkel and Haydari issued a video apology on social media late Monday, in which they admitted that they acted “childish” and “with hate” and said they learned a lesson from the incident. However, they did not explain why they made the Nazi salute or what their views on the Israel-Palestine conflict are.

“I know we have approached the situation with hate and made it worse with our actions,” Haydari said in the video. “We acted childish … All we can do is become better [and] learn a lesson from this. We cannot change the past.”

Ferrer Van Ginkel did not speak in the video, but nodded along with Haydari’s words.

The apology did not seem to satisfy many online users, who said that the soccer players were only sorry because they got caught and that their gesture was not a joke but a sign of hate and ignorance.

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