Oakland Athletics bench coach Ryan Christenson said he was just attempting to follow safety protocols when he made "a horrible and racist" gesture Thursday night.

He later apologized after it appeared he was giving a Nazi salute by extending his right arm to greet players coming off the field after the game against the Texas Rangers.

Christenson acknowledged he made a mistake while trying to follow Major League Baseball’s guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic. Christenson said he adapted the team’s elbow bump, which players have used instead of a high-five, in order to create more distance with the players.

A’s pitcher Liam Hendriks warned Christenson what he had done, and the coach fixed the gesture.

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

Many players have looked to support social justice issues in the early part of the MLB season, wearing messages on their uniforms and kneeling during the national anthem. The league showed support for the Black Lives Matter movement with “BLM” stenciled on the mound during Opening Day games.

“We do not support or condone this gesture, or the racist sentiment behind it,” the A’s said in a statement. “This is incredibly offensive, especially in these times when we as a club and so many others are working to expose and address racial inequities in our country. We are deeply sorry that this happened on our playing field.

Oakland is in first place and has been one of the best teams in baseball through 13 games of the shortened 60-game season.

Oakland Athletics Ryan Christenson
Quality Control Coach Mark Kotsay #7 and Bench Coach Ryan Christenson #29 of the Oakland Athletics stand on the field during summer workouts at RingCentral Coliseum on July 11, 2020 in Oakland, California. hoto by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)