There is no excuse for this behaviour. Just no excuse at all.
Warning: The video in this post contains racist language and sex, and is NSFW.
Three privileged, talented young men went to Thailand for an on their end-of-season soccer tour last week.
But the Premier League football players were sent home just days later for mistreating a group of women in the most appalling way.
Tom Hopper, 21, Adam Smith, 22, and James Pearson, 21, of Leicester City football club contracted three Thai sex workers to join them in their Bangkok hotel room.
There, they had the women perform sex acts on them while hurling racist, demeaning insults toward them — and filming the whole incident.
In the videos (scroll down to watch- NSFW), the sex workers are subjected to racist terms like “slit eye” as the men laugh.
Hopper can also be heard telling one of the women she is “f***ing minging… an absolute one out of 10” in the distressing footage, while the men provide a running commentary of the sex acts and make a number of other offensive comments too graphic to print.
The video ends with Hopper and Pearson high-fiving each other and laughing.
The footage was released by UK newspaper the Sunday Mirror after being shared with friends in the UK by at least one of the players.
It’s making headlines across the globe today, partly because the revolting incident is a huge embarrassment to Pearson’s father Nigel Pearson, who manages the Leicester City club and has vocally campaigned against racism as patron of Show Racism the Red Card and the “Kick It Out” anti-racism initiative.
The revelations of player racism also put the club in an awkward position, given that the club is in a “strategic partnership” with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, meaning its Amazing Thailand branding appears on the back of player’s gear, BBC News reports.
More interesting than the PR nightmare now facing club, however, is its reaction to the incident — because not one of those players has been sacked.
Not a single one.
In fact, the Leicester City club initially released a statement saying it would take action “if necessary”– an ambiguous response to the series of explicitly unambiguous racist and sexist slurs heard in the footage.
Thankfully, the team yesterday released an updated statement confirming that the players had been sent home, and adding that club would be conducting a formal process of investigation.
Strangely, some football fans have vocally defended the men online, using youth and intoxication as excuses for the ordeal.
“I’m sure that the three players are normally nice lads who just can’t handle their alcohol and are still learning what is socially acceptable,” supporter Ben Spiers posted to Facebook.
Brendan Kerr weighed in: “Did the girls get paid? No harm done really.”
Elliott Fountain added: “What exactly have these young boys done wrong ?… I would be more shocked if they didn’t have an orgy in Thailand!”
This video is NSFW and contains racist language (post continues after video):
There are so many things wrong with those defences, it’s difficult to know where to start.
So they were drunk? Well, being drunk might make you sloppy or argumentative or emotional, but it doesn’t make you racist.
So they were young men, “still learning” what is socially acceptable?
Nope. Still not an excuse. By your early 20s, you’re shaped enough to drive, drink, marry, have children, gamble, and go to prison. You may not have gathered the worldly wisdom you’ll ever have, but you have a basic sense of right and wrong.
So please, save this excuse — because ‘learning what is socially acceptable’ extends to learning when to write a thank-you card or how to ask a girl on a date; it doesn’t extend to racially abusing and sexually demeaning fellow human beings.
The bottom line is this: These young, rich, white men are extraordinarily privileged.
They enjoy careers that place the world at their feet; careers that many young men would die for, and that afford them the chance to travel the world and be positive role models for thousands of young boys and girls.
But last week they made a choice — a choice to use their substantial privilege to demean three women in the most vile, hurtful manner.
They disrespected them in every way: swapping them around like playing cards, making aggressive sexual demands, then filming the incident to share with friends, as if their lewd orgy was a trophy to be lauded and laughed at.
In abusing those women, they abused their position of supreme privilege — and voided their right to enjoy that lifestyle any longer.
It doesn’t matter if they were drunk. It doesn’t matter that they were young.
There is simply no excuse for behaviour that bad.
What disciplinary action should these three men face?