Yems called player ‘curry muncher’ and told Muslims ‘your people blow up stuff’

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    John Yems called a Crawley Town player a "curry muncher" and told Muslims in his squad that "your people blow up stuff with vests".

    The Football Association's report into Yem's behaviour whilst Crawley manager found he had used "discriminatory language" and "racist banter" towards his players. He was handed an 18-month ban earlier this month, the longest suspension ever imposed for discriminatory language, having been dismissed by Crawley in May last year.

    The FA concluded he was not a "conscious racist", but agreed that what they described as his "banter" came across offensive, racist and Islamophobic as they released their report on the matter.

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    Yems told Muslim players at Crawley “your people blow up stuff with vests” and “carry bombs” in their bags as well as using Arnold Schwarzenegger's name to emphasise the N-word.

    He was also found to have called black players "Zulu warriors" and described Muslim members of the team as "terrorists". Yems also called one player a "curry muncher".

    The panel concluded he also said an Iraqi youth international "would probably blow up the stadium" and repeatedly asked the same player if he was unhappy that the club did not serve "curry pizza".

    Yems made a remark about "how dark his skin is" to a player who had returned to the club after representing Grenada and frequently asked multiple African players whether they ate jerk chicken. That was despite being told several times it was a Jamaican dish.

    Overall, he was found guilty of 12 charges of misconduct. Four allegations against him were dismissed, including more supposed terrorism remarks and a claim that he said black people do not go fishing because they would stab the fish.

    The FA's report states: "We regard this as an extremely serious case. We have accepted that Mr Yems is not a conscious racist. If he were, an extremely lengthy, even permanent, suspension would be appropriate.

    "Nevertheless, Mr Yems' 'banter' undoubtedly came across to the victims and others as offensive, racist and Islamophobic. Mr Yems simply paid no regard to the distress which his misplaced jocularity was causing."

    Those players who gave evidence against Yems have been described as credible witnesses by the FA, who have also condemned him for not considering how his language made them feel.

    The report added: "We are confident that Mr Yems as a person is not a racist. Nor did Mr Yems ever intend to make racist remarks.

    "Nevertheless, it is how what he said from time to time would be perceived by those to whom it was addressed which is what matters rather than his subjective intent.

    "There was a considerable weight of evidence to the effect that Mr Yems was in the habit of, in his perception, cracking jokes which were perceived as racist by those who were the butt of the jokes.

    "Probably, Mr Yems gave no thought at all to the effect of his language on those at whom the 'jokes' were aimed. Nor did he give any thought at all to the likely reaction of others to the language he used.

    "In our view, Mr Yems was not deliberately lying in his evidence about not having said many of the things alleged. Indeed, he may well think that he did not in fact say what is alleged.

    "In our view, he simply gave no thought at all to the effect of what he was saying from time to time. For him, there was nothing unusual or out of the ordinary in his language so as to make it memorable.

    "Nevertheless, for those who were the butt of the comments the position was entirely different. We have already noted our finding that the players who gave evidence before us were impressive witnesses. We have no doubt that they were intending to tell us the truth, and we reject categorically the suggestion that any of them was lying."

    Anti-discrimination group Kick It Out have since released a statement in response to the FA's enquiry, which reads: "The discriminatory language outlined in The FA independent panel report is simply shocking.

    "Given the seriousness of the incidents detailed, it is very hard to understand how The FA independent panel have concluded that 'Mr Yems is not a conscious racist'. We do not share that viewpoint.

    "The behaviour outlined in the report must be called out for what it is, racism and Islamophobia. To speak plainly, a 15-month ban given the severity of the 11 proven charges is a slap in the face to the victims of the discriminatory abuse detailed in this report and anyone who has been subject to racism or Islamophobia.

    "Furthermore, to reduce his prolonged string of offensive, Islamophobic, and racist remarks to simply 'misplaced jocularity' shows a total lack of understanding about the damage that this language can cause or the power dynamics that exist in the game.

    "This decision also sets a dangerous precedent by allowing perpetrators to hide behind a 'banter' defence when intentionally using harmful and discriminatory language, and we will be in touch with The FA to understand how the panel came to their conclusion.

    "We applaud the courage of the victims of this case for coming forward and would encourage anyone involved in the game who sadly find themselves in similar situations to get in touch with us at Kick It Out."


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