Posted on March 24, 2023

Man Faces Jail Over Racist Tweet About Footballer Michael Obafemi

Jasper King, Metro, March 10, 2023

A man could face jail for calling a Championship football player the N word on Twitter.

Josh Phillips, 26, sent the racist tweet in response to news Michael Obafemi, 22, was being transferred on loan from Swansea City to Burnley.

The football star was born in Dublin to Nigerian parents and later brought up in London.

Swansea Magistrates’ Court heard the racist tweet was deleted before Twitter blocked the account for breaching their social media terms.

Police traced the tweet to Phillips and made an arrest.

The 26-year-old admitted sending the racial slur on January 28 and said at the time he had been drunk.

He later pleaded guilty to sending a message on a public communications network that was grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing, contrary to the Communications Act 2003.

A victim impact statement from Obafemi was read out to the court and said: ‘The racist abuse towards me is totally unacceptable.

‘It doesn’t matter what I do for a job or what colour my skin is. I am a human being and don’t deserve this behaviour.

‘This was extremely offensive and distressing for me, my family and friends, who all read it.

‘I hope the person who made these comments learns that this racist abuse is not acceptable.

‘Any kind of discrimination is totally unacceptable and I for one will not accept it.’

The judge warned Phillips he will face a football banning order and a potential prison sentence.

The case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports and the court was told how Phillips is of previous good character.

Judge James told Phillips: ‘I am going to adjourn your case for a pre-sentence report.

‘It is clear you have pleaded guilty to what is a very serious offence of this type.

‘The fact that I am adjourning for a pre-sentence report to be prepared should not be taken by you as any indication of sentence that will be imposed.

‘All options are and do remain open in this case, including immediate custody.’

Phillips has been released on bail until his sentencing at Swansea Magistrates Court on March 31.

Swansea City posted a tweet condemning ‘vile’ social media posts made after news of Obafemi’s loan move to Burnley at the time of the incident.

The club tweeted: ‘Swansea City is aware of disgusting racist abuse posted on social media in relation to Michael Obafemi’s loan move to Burnley.

‘The club is sickened by the vile language used in the offending posts, and is working to identify those responsible and take the strongest possible action.

‘The matter has been reported to South Wales Police, who are investigating. There is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind in society or football.’