I am starting to notice a pattern to sportsmen making insulting gestures. Yesterday I watched Dutch football player Van Bommel make a “fuck you”-gesture (twice) with a hand in the crook of the elbow after scoring for Bayern Munich against Real Madrid. A day later he is under attack and vigorously apologizing to fans and the general public.

Van Bommel

Van Bommel’s way of saying “up yours” to “certain Real players, but not Real in general” (source) Desmond Morris (1979) included this ‘forearm jerk’ as one of his 20 key gestures in a survey of the origin and distribution of gestures.

(from Morris, 1979)

Update 6 Mar `07: Mark van Bommel was fined EUR6,200 by UEFA for making insulting gestures.

More on fines and jailtime for gestures