Last May Irish teenager Patrick O’Brien was playing a game of FIFA, and one of the players he was controlling was Arsenal and England legend Ian Wright. O’Brien lost that match, and so decided to jump into Wright’s DMs and send a succession of disgustingly racist attacks.
Wright took screenshots of the deeply racist messages and posted them on Twitter at the time. The Independent reports that O’Brien, now 18, was subsequently charged following his outburst, and this week faced court, where he escaped a criminal conviction after a judge decided that while the abuse was “clearly racist, reprehensible and utterly abhorrent”, they weren’t actual views held by the teen, but instead words said in the heat of the moment from “a young, immature and naive” man, who has since donated €500 to the Irish Network Against Racism.
Not sure I’ve ever seen A Heated Gaming Moment used in a legal context before.
As Eurogamer report, FIFA publisher Electronic Arts have handed down a stricter punishment than Irish courts, not just banning O’Brien from the game for life but deleting his account entirely.
Wright, meanwhile, posted a statement on Twitter, expressing his disappointment in…well, the whole thing, really:
— Ian Wright (@IanWright0) February 3, 2021
Here, as a palette cleanser, are some Ian Wright classics: