3rd November, 2021
Jonathon Best, an England football fan who live-streamed himself on Facebook racially abusing three England players, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after they missed penalties for England in the shootout in the final of Euro 2020 has been jailed.
Best was sentenced to 10 weeks in prison at Willesden Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
He had previously pleaded guilty to sending by public communication network a grossly offensive, indecent, obscene, or menacing message or matter.
Best, a forklift driver of Feltham, west London, was caught 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 Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Best, 52, posted a rant about Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka.
CPS said Best used social media to publicly vilify the three young men who tried to score for England in the EURO 2020 final.
He said 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,” said Cousins.
She thanked the individual who reported the appalling hate crime, “and I hope this prosecution would educate and deter people from posting hate on social media.”
Following the case, the CPS announced it was working with the police, player bodies and organisations to explain what evidence was 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.”