The 18-year-old gamer who sent a tirade of racist messages to the footballer Ian Wright after being let down by a game version of the star on his PlayStation was yesterday told he had been forgiven.
Patrick O’Brien, from Tralee, County Kerry, sent 20 vile Instagram messages to the Match of the Day presenter, 57, before handing himself into police after Wright shared the messages online.
The teenager said he sent the abusive messages after the FIFA tournament game version of the star on his PlayStation lost in a football match, the District Court in Tralee heard.
He admitted harassment and grossly offensive, obscene and menacing message charges.
Patrick O’Brien, 18, from Tralee, County Kerry, sent 20 vile Instagram messages Ian Wright earlier this year
The teenager handed himself in to police after the Match of the Day presenter, 57, shared the messages online
In his victim impact statement Wright said he believed ‘there is redemption in everyone’ and told O’Brien ‘I forgive you’.
In a statement, seen by The Sun, Wright told the court: ‘I have experienced racism years ago but I am in complete shock to experience it now and am very disappointed.’
He added: ‘Patrick, I forgive you. I believe there is redemption for everyone. I hope that you and also those who either taught you or enabled this hate will learn from this and change for the better.’
Earlier this year, the football pundit took to Twitter to share the racist slurs he had been sent on Instagram.
He shared messages that contained significant racist abuse and which saw him labelled a ‘f***ing monkey’, a ‘n****r’ and a ‘cotton picking black c**n’.
Along with the screen grabs, the footballer wrote: ‘These aren’t isolated incidents!!! It’s daily!! This is what I received for posting and talking about #BlackLivesMatter yesterday.
‘The abuse started a week earlier, the taunting is terrifying. Coming back and back again.’
In May, Wright hit out at the likes of Twitter and Instagram and called for them to do more to deal with racism on the platforms.
Speaking to No Signal radio station last month, he said: ‘There has to be some form of consequence.
‘I’ve got a platform where I can reach people. This is happening to people on a daily basis where they can’t do what I did – that’s why I had to call this guy out.
‘We’re dealing with people that need to hide.
‘Platforms like Instagram and Twitter are where they can hide but, what they haven’t understood and what that guy will have realised today is, it’s not my platform – it’s everybody who has come in on him. Something has to be done.’
Wright was labelled a ‘c**n’, a monkey and a ‘n****r’ during an outburst on Instagram in May
The vile messages were sent to the former England striker’s account on Instagram earlier this year
Wright posted the message to Twitter with screenshots of the racist abuse sent to him
The Match of the Day star shared the messages of the abuse on his social media earlier this year
In February, the Match of the Day pundit predicted that racism in football would never be full stopped, particularly with the growth in social media.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs: ‘With the emergence of social media, you can see [racism] happening.
‘I don’t think it’s something that’s ever going to go away.
‘People feel that if you’ve been a victim of it you’ve got the answers, but you don’t know [what to do].
‘You look at people who are accused of racism, they’re older people – people who should know better.
‘I still think that education is key and that’s all we can do. But you’re just hoping that more and more people will out it when it happens.
‘Then you need the proper kind of discipline and punishment so that people understand that it’s not acceptable.’