British Student Jailed For Racist Tweets About Collapsed Soccer Player

Mar 27, 2012
Originally published on March 28, 2012 7:09 am

A British student has been sentenced to 56 days in jail for posting racist tweets about a soccer player who collapsed on the pitch.

Liam Stacey pleaded guilty to "incitement to racial hatred," after he let loose a barrage of tweets that contained the n-word and crude sexual references. It all started earlier this month, when Fabrice Muamba, a soccer player, collapsed on the pitch and Stacey tweeted that he was dead, followed by "#Haha."

When people on Twitter reacted to his insensitivity, Stacey replied with tweets we can't reprint here. Needless to say, they contained lots of four-letter words. They are archived here, but be warned some will find them terribly offensive.

The Guardian reports:

"Stacey sobbed throughout the hearing and held his head in his hands when he was sentenced. He was led away in handcuffs.

"District judge John Charles told Stacey: 'It was racist abuse via a social networking site instigated as a result of a vile and abhorrent comment about a young footballer who was fighting for his life. At that moment, not just the footballer's family, not just the footballing world but the whole world were literally praying for his life. Your comments aggravated this situation.

"'I have no choice but to impose an immediate custodial sentence to reflect the public outrage at what you have done. You committed this offence while you were drunk and it is clear you immediately regretted it. But you must learn how to handle your alcohol better.'"

If you remember Muamba's heart stopped beating for 78 minutes and somehow came back to life. As Philip Reeves reported for us, the crowd chanted his name willing him back to life. It was a brilliant moment for fans who are not known for their empathy.

ESPN reports that Stacey was also suspended from his university.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.