Even more depressing than the team’s after-the-Lord-Mayor’s-ball type of performance at Wigan was news that Darren Bent ‘s mother was racially abused at the DW stadium. And even more depressing than that, he says a Sunderland supporter was the culprit.
Bent vented his feelings in a message posted to his Twitter page after the game: “So we get beaten by Wigan and to make matters worse my mum gets racially abused by a Sunderland fan. I won’t stand for that.”
He apparently added for good measure that the offender “needs to hope I don’t find out his name or who he is”, and I don’t blame him.
There should be no room for any racist among our following. I remember coming across it as recently as the Peter Reid era but thought – hoped – it had vanished up the BNP’s backside. It reflects woefully on all who support SAFC and the Bent family therefore deserves an apology on behalf of all of us.
Of course, I would insist on the same principles being applied in this case as should be, but are not, in any other. I am thinking, of course, of the fans banned on suspicion of involvement in disorder at Newcastle after the pre-season friendly at Hearts and would expect even a suspected racist to be considered innocent until proved guilty.
But once that has been done, I would support severe punishment by the courts and the club. The “supporter” should be given a hefty fine, banned for life from SAFC games and exposed for what he is with photographs in every North-eastern newspaper. I was going to add “and then handed over to Mr Bent”, but that might be a penalty too far.