'Nazi' curse prompts suspension of Mac TA captain

Guy Pnini apologetic over outburst against Hapoel TA player, but club still rescinds captaincy, in addition to suspension, fine.

Maccabi Tel Aviv's Guy Pnini 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv's Guy Pnini 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv suspended Guy Pnini until further notice and stripped him of the captaincy on Monday night after he was caught on camera calling Hapoel Tel Aviv player Jonathan Skjoldebrand a Nazi, among other profanities.
The incident was captured during a trash-talk exchange in Sunday’s derby at Nokia Arena, with Pnini also telling Skjoldebrand that he hopes he gets cancer and that his father will die.
Pnini, who was named Maccabi’s captain prior to the season, apologized for his behavior, but Maccabi’s management still decided to hand down a NIS 100,000 fine, as well as suspend him and strip him of the captaincy.
“After hearing what the player had to say and his honest apology, the club’s management cannot accept his behavior. His status as a player and a captain, who represents the club’s values, demands him to display added restraint and tolerance,” a Maccabi statement read.
Hapoel approached the Israel Basketball Association earlier in the day to file a complaint regarding Pnini’s conduct and he is set to also receive a ban by the league’s disciplinary court.
“I would like to apologize from the bottom of my heart for the things I said during the derby,” Pnini said. “I apologize to Jonathan and his family and to Maccabi Tel Aviv, my teammates and any sports fan who was offended by what I said.
“I would also like to apologize to my family who are Holocaust survivors. I’m ashamed of myself and of the way I acted.”
Meanwhile, Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Eilat both continued their recent hot streak on Monday, improving to 6-2 in the BSL.
Haifa beat Bnei Herzliya 91-86, claiming its fourth straight win.
The Greens raced into an early lead, taking a nine-point gap (22-13) into the second period.
Alex Chubrevich’s dunk with three minutes to play in the first half took Haifa’s margin to 20 points (42-22), but Herzliya bounced back, closing to within 12 points (45-33) by the break.
Niv Berkowitz’s basket midway through the third quarter brought the visitors within four points (55-51) and the deficit was just a single point after Ben Rice’s three-point play with two minutes remaining in the game.
However, the visitors could not complete the comeback and fell to their fourth straight loss.
“They made a lot of shots in the second half as we didn’t defend as well,” was how Haifa coach Brad Greenberg explained Herzliya’s fight back. “We lost a little momentum at the end of the first half and to their credit they capitalized on that and it went down to the wire.”
Paul Stoll had 17 points for Haifa, with new signing Gal Mekel adding 16 points and nine assists.
Rice led Herzliya (2-5) with 27 points and seven boards.
In Eilat, a 7-0 run to end the half gave the hosts a 43-36 advantage, but Netanya quickly ate away at the gap after the break and the game would go down to the wire.
Netanya had its chances, but Scotty Hopson came to Eilat’s rescue, scoring in the clutch to clinch a 68-65 victory, Eilat’s fifth in its past six games.
Eli Holman had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Eilat, with Hopson scoring 12.
Marco Killingsworth had 14 points and nine boards for Netanya, which lost its third consecutive game after beginning the season 5-0.