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When English soccer star Fabrice Muamba, who plays for Bolton Wanderers, collapsed on the field after suffering a heart attack, it shocked the entire sports world.

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Medics rushed on the field during the March 17 FA Cup match against Tottenham Hotspur in a bid to save him, with doctors later managing to jolt him back to life.

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Most of the global soccer community have expressed their support for his speedy recovery. Players have worn “Pray 4 Muamba” t-shirts under their jerseys and coaches have spoken reverently about the midfielder being an all-around great guy and fierce competitor.

Liam Stacey, on the other hand, shared a completely opposite opinion about Muamba and his brush with death. Stacy, a 21-year-old Welsh student, tweeted that he hoped Muamba had died, and responded with racial slurs to anyone who disagreed with his online rants. See here for this tweets.

For his trouble, Stacey has been sentenced to 56 days in jail for a “racially aggravated public order offense,” according to a Deadspin report.

Authorities arrested Stacey, a second year biology student at Swansea University, after users complained of his Twitter messages. He tried to delete the messages and later blamed alcohol for his insensitive tweets.

District Judge John Charles in Swansea Magistrates’ Court told Stacy at sentencing:

“In my view, there is no alternative to an immediate prison sentence. It was not the football world who was praying for [Muamba]…. everybody was praying for his life.”

Jim Brisbane, chief crown prosecutor for CPS Cymru-Wales, said to the BBC:

“Racist language is inappropriate in any setting and through any media. We hope this case will serve as a warning to anyone who may think that comments made online are somehow beyond the law.”

Stacey’s conviction can easily been seen as triumph against racism. But for most Americans, the idea that a Tweet can get you time in the slammer may be a difficult concept to accept. We have the right to invoke the First Amendment, after all.

The laws are obviously different in the UK. It’s something that Stacey probably he wishes he would’ve consider a few days ago.

Meanwhile, Muamba is still recovering in intensive care but able to has been able to leave his bed for the first time since the incident.


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Brett Johnson is a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based writer and the founder of the music and culture blog

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