Tottenham Hotspur Fan Arrested for Unintentional Racist Term

Image: Tottenham Hotspur Fan Arrested for Unintentional Racist Term Tottenham Hotspur fans watch their team take on West Ham United.

Monday, 07 Oct 2013 01:37 PM

By Michael Mullins

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A Tottenham Hotspur fan was arrested during an English soccer match Sunday for allegedly chanting the anti-Semitic term "Yid."

The arrest, which occurred during halftime, was an unprecedented step by the league and local police which had previously warned fans against using the derogatory term, Britain's Telegraph reported.

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The twist, however, is that the fan was not apparently using the racist slang in a hateful manner to attack a player, but rather as an apparent show of support for the team, which traditionally is viewed as a Jewish club.

The Tottenham Hotspur soccer club represents an area of North London that is largely Jewish, though most of the fans are apparently not Jewish, The Huffington Post noted.

When playing other teams, the Tottenham Hotspur were in the past routinely barraged with anti-Semitic slang, prompting some fans to adopt the derogatory slang as their own and refer to their club as the "Yid Army," the Telegraph reported.

Hundreds of Tottenham Hotspur fans reportedly chanted the derogatory word during the first half of Sunday's match against West Ham United, prompting fans of the other club to call them racists, after they were warned against using the derogatory term prior to the match.

In September, Prime Minister David Cameron weighed into the debate over whether the derogatory term should be tolerated considering it is not being used in a derogatory fashion.

"There’s a difference between Spurs fans self-describing themselves as Yids and someone calling someone a Yid as an insult," Cameron told The Jewish Chronicle. "You have to be motivated by hate. Hate speech should be prosecuted – but only when it’s motivated by hate."

Prior to Sunday's match, Chief superintendent Mick Johnson told fans that, "This topic has been debated at length but our position is clear: racism and offensive language have no place in football or indeed in society.

"Those supporters who engage in such behavior should be under no illusion that they may be committing an offence and may be liable to a warning or be arrested," Johnson added.

Tottenham Hotspur went on to beat West Ham United 3-0 in the match.

The arrested fan has been released on bail until November, the Independent reported.

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