A 52-year-old soccer fan was on Tuesday sentenced to 10 weeks in jail for racially abusing three Black England players following their Euro 2020 final loss to Italy.
According to Sky Sports, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Jonathon Best livestreamed himself on Facebook going on a racist rant against Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka. And that was after the three Black players failed to score during the penalty shootout against Italy.
Best’s sentence came after he pleaded guilty to sending by public communication network a grossly offensive or indecent or obscene or menacing message or matter. The accused, who is a forklift driver from west London, was implicated after a colleague reported the video to Facebook as well as the police. Best’s colleague had initially asked him to take the 18-second video down, but he refused. Facebook later removed the video.
“While the majority of the nation took great pride in the Three Lions reaching their first international final in more than 50 years, Jonathon Best took to Facebook to Livestream a barrage of racist abuse at the three players who missed penalties during the game,” Elaine Cousins, from the CPS, said.
“He used social media to publicly vilify these three young men who tried to score for England. When approached by a Facebook friend asking him to remove the grossly offensive content, Best replied: ‘It’s my profile, I can do what I want.’
“There is absolutely no room in the game, nor elsewhere, for racism. The CPS is committed to bringing perpetrators of hate crime to justice where there is the evidence to do so.”
Cousins continued: “I would like to thank the individual who reported this appalling hate crime and I hope this prosecution goes some way in educating and deterring people from posting hate on social media.”
The CPS announced it’ll subsequently be liaising with the police, player bodies and organizations to spell out the kind of evidence that can legally be used to justifiably bring charges in hate crime cases, Sky Sports reported.
“Hate crimes such as these have a massive impact on players and their mental health,” Elizabeth Jenkins of the CPS said. “The CPS takes this kind of offending very seriously and this case shows that where offensive content is reported to the police we can successfully bring offenders to justice.”