LONDON (AP) — A man from northwestern England was spared jail time Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to posting racist abuse on social media after three Black players on the England soccer team missed penalty shots during the final of the European Championship in July.
The Crown Prosecution Service said Scott McCluskey, 43, of Cheshire posted the comments about Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after England lost to Italy in a penalty shootout.
McCluskey told police he smoked marijuana on the night of the final and posted the comments to make people laugh. He said he didn’t realize his comments would be considered racist, and he deleted them after seeing the response from other social media users.
McCluskey pleaded guilty at Warrington Magistrates’ Court. District Judge Nicholas Sanders sentenced him to 14 weeks in prison but suspended the sentence for 18 months. McCluskey will also be subject to an electronically monitored curfew on Saturdays and Sundays for 40 weeks.
“Hate crimes such as these have a massive impact on players and their mental health,” Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Elizabeth Jenkins said. “The (Crown Prosecution Service) 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.”
At least 11 people have been arrested in connection with widespread racist abuse directed at the three players after the final, according to the U.K. Football Policing Unit.