British football fans have long earned a reputation for their vulgarity, anger and violence during matches in which they openly express views of opponents that are rather vicious in content and voice. Police have arrested two of 16 suspects who howled racist and homophobic chants during a game on September 28, 2008. The aim of their vicious comments was Sol Campbell, and police have decided to send a message to all the sick British football fans who believe they have an unlimited right of free speech regardless of the form and content of their verbal abuse. “We want to send a clear message,” said police, “that abuse of this kind will not be tolerated and that we are taking robust action.”
An issue is whether athletes once on the field of play have any rights regarding what is being said about them or members of their family. Can racists shout whatever they desire knowing full well athletes have no way to respond while playing football. It is time to establish some limits on what these sick individuals can express in open because in so doing, it sends a message even athletes have rights.