Teenager Justin Lee Price has admitted to racially abusing Marcus Rashford on Twitter after the Euro 2020 final, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said. The 19-year-old aimed the slur at the Manchester United forward after he missed his spot kick in the penalty shootout against Italy at Wembley.
The tweet, posted on July 11, read: “@SzzOGz @MarcusRashford YOU F****** STUPID N***** MISSING A FREE PEN MY DEAD NAN COULD HAVE SCORED THAT”, according to a CPS official. The CPS said that Price has admitted to one count of sending a grossly offensive message by public communication network.
Worcester Magistrates’ Court also heard that Price tried to avoid detection by changing his username after the tweet was reported. He had initially denied the offence upon questioning, but admitted to posting the tweet when asked by police a second time.
Mark Johnson, of the CPS, said: “Price targeted a footballer based on the colour of his skin and his action was clearly racist and a hate crime. Those who racially abuse footballers ruin the game for all. I hope this case sends out the message that we will not tolerate racism and offenders will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Douglas Mackay, the CPS sports lead prosecutor, said hate crimes relating to football have risen significantly over recent years.
“Over recent years and months, hate crimes relating to sporting events have been on the rise. The UK Football Policing Unit’s internal mid-season report has shown a significant rise in football-related criminality compared to pre-pandemic levels,” Mr Mackay said.
“At the CPS, we play a crucial role in tackling these crimes and making our national sport inclusive and safe to watch. There is no place for hate in football, and hate crime such as this has significant impact on victims.”
Price, of Grandison Gardens, Worcester, is due to be sentenced on March 30, the CPS said.