INTERNATIONAL goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey has been forced to defend himself after a picture posted on Instagram appeared to show him making a Nazi salute.
The Crystal Palace player had joined teammates for a meal to celebrate the Selhurst Park club’s 1-0 FA Cup Third Round win over Grimsby Town on Saturday when German international Max Meyer took a picture.
When it was later posted on the German’s Instagram story fans following him spotted 31-year-old Hennessey, who has played 81 times for Wales, looking as if he was making the fascist gesture — with his hand under his nose in an imitation of Hitler’s moustache.
The picture vanished, although it is not clear if it was deleted or the story expired, but by then fans had already copied it and spoken of their shock.
Hennessey explained his gesture on Twitter, saying: ‘I waved and shouted at the person taking the picture to get on with it and at the same time put my hand over my mouth to make the sound carry. It’s been brought to my attention that frozen in a moment by the camera, this looks like I am making a completely inappropriate type of salute. I can assure everyone I would never ever do that and any resemblance to that kind of gesture is absolutely coincidental.’
But his explanation failed to convince football fans, including Newcastle supporter Tom Howarth who tweeted: ‘Congratulations Wayne, it may only be January 7th, but you’ve been awarded the Worst Excuse of the Year award 2019, nobody else will come close to beating that.’
Dave Harmer added: ‘Who waves with their thumb tucked under a straight hand???’
The excuse also spawned a host of memes lampooning Hennessey, featuring Father Ted, Ron Burgundy and Prince Harry. A spoof account for Manchester United legend Eric Cantona joined in the mockery, tweeting that the iconic photograph of his 1995 kung fu attack on a Palace fan at Selhurst Park merely showed him protecting a young child in the crowd from a wasp.
Crystal Palace have not commented.