A football fan who livestreamed himself on Facebook racially abusing three England players after the Euro 2020 final has been jailed.
Jonathon Best, 52, posted a rant about three Black players, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka, who missed their spot-kicks in the penalty shootout against Italy which England lost, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
On Tuesday, Best was sentenced to 10 weeks in prison at Willesden Magistrates’ Court.
He had previously pleaded guilty to sending by public communication network a grossly offensive or indecent or obscene or menacing message or matter.
The CPS said the court heard Best, a forklift driver of Feltham, west London, was caught out after a colleague and Facebook friend reported the 18-second clip to both Facebook and the police after he refused to take it down.
Facebook took the clip down three days later.
Elaine Cousins, from the CPS, said: “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.
“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.”
She added: “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.”
Following the case, the CPS announced it is working with the police, player bodies and organisations, to explain what evidence is needed to pass its legal tests to authorise charges in hate crime cases.
Elizabeth Jenkins of the CPS said: “Hate crimes such as these have a massive impact on players and their mental health.
“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.”
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