EA Sports permanently banned a FIFA gamer who issued racial attacks against former footballer Ian Wright. Patrick O’Brien, aged 18, was apparently not so happy when he lost a match of Ultimate Team while using the Arsenal legend as his striker. Naturally, it is common that everyone hates losing and would react badly when losing games.
But the teenage gamer took it too far when he chose to start sending over 20 racist messages to the real-life ex-player on Instagram. The kid was initially taken to court in February over charges of spreading hate speech and racism. However, due to otherwise good behaviour and the fact that he showed remorse, the judge didn’t issue a criminal investigation.
Nonetheless, EA chose to take action as a message to all other gamers around the world against such behaviour shown by Patrick. In an interview, EA Sports FIFA VP, David Jackson clarified this action saying, “We hugely value his partnership and support, and we also want him to know he has our support. Last year, Ian was subject to a terrible, racist verbal attack by a player who lost a match of FIFA 20.”
“This behaviour by the player was unacceptable on every level, and we will not tolerate it. Our Positive Play Charter guides our actions in a situation like this, and we’ve taken the action to ban the player permanently from playing or accessing our games. Racism must stop. We are committed to continuing our work in positive play, through actions that will make our communities fun, fair, and safe for everyone.”
Earlier last month after the court case, Ian “Wrighty” Wright himself issued a statement saying he was disappointed in the verdict. After EA’s decision, he did speak highly of the video game company and noted that EA even apologised to him personally.
— Ian Wright (@IanWright0) February 3, 2021
“EA Sports bro, they stepped up for me,” said Wright in a podcast. “After this attack, they changed their whole policy. And you know with a company like that, the different levels, and can you imagine the legality you have to go through to change your policy? Not only for me, but it’s also for their staff, for players, the talent, the people they partner with. Zero tolerance. Zero tolerance. And action will be taken.”
This move from EA follows a trend of major video game companies taking action against racism and hate speech by aggressively banning accounts for such behaviour. It also comes at a time when the world of football has seen a rise in racial abuse against professional footballers on social media.