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Justice! Soccer Fans Finally Convicted for Unbelievably Racist Harassment on Paris Train


Nearly two years ago, a group of white Chelsea football fans in Paris to watch the teams play, pushed a black man out of a Métro train. In that video above, you can see the fans crowded in a packed carriage, chanting “We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it.” You can see them push the man, Souleymane Sylla, onto the platform. You can see another black woman back away from the carriage doors as they chant.

And yet, when the case went to trial, we heard the usual soundbytes. One of the four defendants was described by his friends as a “well-brought-up boy.” The men denied any sort of racism on their part, issuing statements like, “I’m very sorry for Mr Sylla but I wasn’t racist in any way,” and, “I haven’t done anything racist in any way.” Funny how the most horrifically racist things are so often done by the self-proclaimed least racist people you know, huh?

But what makes this story different from most stories like this is that these four men were actually convicted. They’ve been given suspended prison statements, ordered to pay Sylla €10,000, and, in a separate ruling from the team itself, are banned from Chelsea or London football matches for up to five years (one of them for only three). They’re also banned from Stamford Bridge (Chelsea’s home venue) for life. Because Chelsea wants to make it clear that they don’t condone racism in the name of football. They called the fans’ behavior “abhorrent, against all of the club’s values and falls way below the standards the club expects of supporters attending our games.”

In the wake of Brexit and Trump’s election, it’s becoming more and more acceptable to be publicly, vocally racist. We need these reminders, both for them and for those of us trying to remain hopeful, that that’s simply not acceptable.

(via The Guardian, image via Shutterstock)

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