West Bromwich Albion player Romaine Sawyers issues statement as racist football fan is jailed

The 29-year-old was subject to racial abuse from a Baggies fan in January 2021

West Bromwich Albion midfielder Romaine Sawyers is a transfer target for Stoke City. (Stoke Sentinal)

Romaine Sawyers has today issued a statement following the news that the supporter that racially abused him has been jailed

Simon Silwood, has been sentenced to eight-weeks in prison.

Sign up to our BirminghamWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

West Brom midfielder Sawyers, who is currently on loan with Stoke City, was subject to racist comments on social media from Silwood following West Brom’s 5-0 defeat to Manchester City in January 2021.

Games Played: 19 Losses: 13 Loss Percentage: 68.4% (Photo by Paul Childs - Getty Images)

We want to hear from you: let us know what you think about this story and be part of the debate in our comments section below.

At a glance: 5 key points

  • Simon Silwood, from Kingswinford, posted a comment on Facebook calling Sawyers a “baboon” following a loss to Manchester City but claimed a misspelling of “bafoon” auto-corrected to that on his device.
  • West Brom immediately banned Silwood for life following his conviction on Thursday 9th September.
  • On 30th September, the offender was sentenced to eight-weeks in jail by Birmingham Magistrates Court.
  • Silwood was also ordered to pay £500 in compensation to the Baggies midfielder.
  • Romaine Sawyers has today, released a statement following the result of the trial.

What’s been said

Romaine Sawyers:

“I welcome the custodial sentence today issued to Simon Silwood and I am now focused on putting this incident behind me.

“Racial abuse towards anyone, in any circumstance, is totally unacceptable, and I hope this case will serve as a deterrent to others.

“This is an incident that has affected me deeply, but I would like to encourage fellow players to report all racial abuse to the police. We must together stand strong in order to rid the game, and wider society, of this hideous behaviour.

“It is widely accepted that social media companies must do more to stop the publication of racism on their platforms. I again urge them to take the necessary action required to prevent anyone from receiving the abuse I experienced.

“I would like to thank PC Stuart Ward and Ian Skidmore of West Bromwich Albion for their tireless support and professionalism during what has been a difficult eight months for me personally. I would also like to applaud the Baggies fan who bravely came forward to report what they had seen. It is important we all remain vigilant in the fight against racism, so please, if you are aware of racism, it is essential you report it.

“It is important to me to turn this negative experience into something positive and I will, therefore, donate the £500 awarded to me as compensation to a local West Midlands charity.”

District judge Briony Clarke:

“There is no place for racism or racist abuse online. This clearly, in my view, crosses the custody threshold.

“I assess the remorse you have for your actions as very minimal indeed.”

PC Stuart Ward:

“Sadly we’ve seen a rise in online hate crime over the last 12 months and we won’t hesitate to take action against those responsible, as this case shows.

“Abusing anyone for the colour of their skin is disgusting and can never, ever be condoned. There’s no place for racism in football or society in general.

“Silwood is old enough to know such appalling behaviour is not only wrong, but is absolutely deplorable.”

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. BirminghamWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook.