Thomas Flint, a 23-year-old Arsenal fan from Enfield, England, probably didn’t imagine he’d be banned for life from the Emirates Stadium for throwing a banana at Tottenham’s Gareth Bale.
That’s the thing, though: Flint didn’t think, and now his actions during the March 3 English Premier League match between Arsenal and Tottenham, in which Enfield tossed a banana at Bale and screamed “c*nt” at visiting Spurs fans, have cost him his ability to watch matches at the Emirates and $385.
District judge Rebecca Crane heard Flint’s case within magistrates’ court and reprimanded Flint for his “disgraceful behavior.” Flint’s flinging of a banana at Bale, an act that’s usually racially motivated and directed at black players, was supposedly a joke aimed at fans’ likening of Bale to a monkey, but Crane lamented that Flint’s actions could’ve “boiled over into violence.” In addition to the fine and the lifetime ban from Arsenal’s home grounds, Flint cannot attend any soccer match for three years.
Again, this is hardly surprising stuff. Despite whatever the term “post-racial” is supposed to signify, world soccer obviously still suffers from a sh*t-ton of xenophobia, as evidenced in Ukraine and elsewhere. Even behavior that mirrors–but doesn’t supposedly act into–racism is going to be met with a swift kick in the dick by authorities trying squash it, like Giorgios Katidis’ Nazi salute in a Greek Super League match.
But that’s soccer for you, Thom. Whether you’re a player, coach or fan, it requires some thinking.