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EA issues lifetime ban to FIFA player who racially abused Ian Wright after losing a match using Wright's virtual character

"EA Sports have stood up."

EA has issued a lifetime ban to a FIFA player who racially abused Ian Wright after he lost a match while playing with the Arsenal legend's in-game version.

This week, Wright slammed a judge's lenient sentence for a teenager who hurled racial abuse at the Arsenal legend on social media last year.

18-year-old Patrick O'Brien lost a game of FIFA after playing with the Ian Wright icon card in the Ultimate Team mode.

The Irish teen then sent real-life Ian Wright awful racist abuse on Instagram, amounting to 20 messages in May 2020.

O'Brien apologised and was spared a conviction after pleading guilty, leading Wright to issue a statement saying he was "disappointed" by the verdict.

At sentencing this week, the judge said he didn't see anything to be gained by imposing a criminal conviction. He added O'Brien had shown genuine remorse for his actions and had donated 500 Euros to the Irish Network Against Racism. O'Brien's defending lawyer said the actions were caused by a "rush of blood to the head" and he had never been in trouble with the police before. The court heard O'Brien had written an apology to Wright, which was accepted by the 57-year-old.

EA Sports has now issued a lifetime ban to O'Brien, who has seen his FIFA accounts scrubbed from existence.

"Ian Wright is part of our EA Sports family," David Jackson, VP Brand EA Sports FIFA said in a statement issued to Eurogamer.

"We hugely value his partnership and support, and we also want him to know he has our support. Last year, Ian was subject to a terrible, racist verbal attack by a player who lost a match of FIFA 20. This behaviour by the player was unacceptable on every level, and we will not tolerate it. Our Positive Play Charter guides our actions in a situation like this, and we've taken the action to ban the player permanently from playing or accessing our games. Racism must stop. We are committed to continuing our work in positive play, through actions that will make our communities fun, fair, and safe for everyone."

Wright praised the response of EA in comments made on his podcast published to Spotify.

"EA Sports bro, they stepped up for me," Wright said. "After this attack they changed their whole policy. And you know with a company like that, the different levels, and can you imagine the legality you have to go through to change your policy? Not only for me, it's for their staff, for players, the talent, the people they partner with. Zero tolerance. Zero tolerance. And action will be taken.

"They even apologised to me, which I found really strange. I said to them, you don't have to apologise to me. They said, no we do have to apologise to you simply because it was our platform that he came for you on. We have a responsibility to make people who want to use our platforms, are safe to do so.

"So, it sends that message guys of, whether it's race, religion, sex, whatever, no discrimintation will be tolerated. He's banned for life. Totally banned for life. He can never play on there again.

"He can't log-on himself. He can probably go and play with his mates, but he's banned permanently. And you know something? As small as that is, it's a little chip out of the massive mountain that is racism, but what it proves is there is some consequence somewhere. People like EA, they're standing and they're saying, we're going to stand on the right side of this - real action that they can control, and they're going to stop that.

"It just made me feel good, because it's companies like that that are going to stand on the right side. And people will say things like, well EA Sports have done this and EA Sports have done that. But the fact is guys, EA Sports have stood up and said that's wrong and we're going to make sure we do something about that.

"And that for me was why I feel so good today. Because there are so many things that happen in respects of racism where you, and any black person and anybody in fact who's been racially abused will know, that sometimes you have those moments when you're just sitting there feeling helpless and worthless.

"So when they do things like this you know there's consequence, and when there's consequence you know actions will be taken. And that is why I feel good today."

EA Sports is currently running a No Room for Racism campaign alongside the Premier League.

On Sunday, Wright reacted to the news that Manchester United's Marcus Rashford and other players had been racially abused on social media, saying the people behind the social media platforms were not doing enough.

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