I thought it was a pretty good joke.
But alas, jokes are illegal in Britain.
A British football fan who racially abused a player from his own team has been jailed for eight weeks after suggesting that the black star should win the ‘Baboon d’Or’ in reference to the sport’s highest individual accolade.
Simon Silwood, aged 50, claimed in his defense that predictive text on his mobile phone changed the word ‘buffoon’ to ‘baboon’ at the time he made the comment regarding West Bromich Albion midfielder Romaine Sawyers.
Silwood made the racist remark while referencing the Ballon d’Or accolade awarded by France Football, which is currently held by former FC Barcelona icon Lionel Messi, after his club nicknamed the Baggies received a 5-0 thumping from eventual Premier League champions Manchester City on January 26 of this year.
🚨📰 West Bromwich Albion fan Simon Silwood, aged 50 was today jailed for eight weeks for racially abusing midfielder Romaine Sawyers online.
Silwood was ordered to pay £500 compensation to Sawyers and £500 costs.[ @SteveMadeley78 – The Athletic] 📰#WBA pic.twitter.com/NpuvsQzsKi
— The Baggies Podcast 🎙 (@TheBaggiesPod) September 30, 2021
He later admitted to being made upset by the scoreline, but blamed the error on predictive text while using Facebook and denied that he was racist.
Eventually convicting Silwood of sending an offensive message under the Communications Act earlier in September, police proved that the mistake simply wasn’t possible.
On Thursday, Silwood was jailed for eight weeks and ordered to pay out £500 ($673) in compensation to the Championship player, plus the same amount for his costs when he was sentenced at Birmingham Magistrates Court.
Of course, they’re not going to let Simon off the hook with a mere eight weeks in prison.
This privileged working class white male didn’t just insult anyone – he insulted an oppressed multi-millionaire gentleman of color.
This is a hate crime, and it’s the most serious crime a man can commit.
He needs to be punished further.
Yet Silwood’s woes might not be over as Mark Johnson of the Crime Prosecution service revealed that an appeal will be made for him to receive more jail time.
“In the 21st Century, it should be incomprehensible how a so-called football fan can abuse a player based on race, let alone a player on the team he purports to support,” Johnson said.
“Silwood deliberately chose a word known to have clear racist connotations to abuse a footballer due to the color of his skin.
“Such behavior will not be tolerated in football and will be prosecuted by the CPS. As this is a hate crime, we will apply for a harsher sentence to reflect that.”
Not trying to blame the victim here, but how can people still not be aware that mainstream social media sites are actively hunting down users who exhibit even the slightest whiff of thoughtcrime?
If Simon had practiced basic opsec – such as using an anonymous account – he could have called that footballer a tree-swinging, armpit-scratching, watermelon-chomping, bojangling nig-nog to his heart’s content and, at worst, would have faced nothing more than a swift account ban.
Instead, his life is permanently ruined.
Way too many people are still underestimating just how bad things really are out there.