A black ice hockey fan in Sheffield, England, had a rotten banana thrown at his head by an athlete.
Tyrell Pearce, a Sheffield Hallam student, was not expecting a racial attack while watching a game at the University of Sheffield. However, that is exactly what happened to him, reported The Tab.
Pearce was sitting with two of his friends, both of whom are white, when the incident occurred. The three had good seats just a few rows back from the arena. His friends, who are from the University of Sheffield, were wearing their university branded shirts but Pearce was wearing his Hallam jumper.
As they sat down in the section which had majority University of Sheffield fans, Pearce got a few strange looks because of his opposing attire.
However, nothing untoward happened until halftime when Pearce’s friends went to get themselves drinks.
“A few minutes after they left I felt something hit the top of my head. But I didn't turn around,” said Pearce. “I chose to ignore it until I looked down and saw that it was a rotten banana. And I had the contents of this banana all over my head.
“Immediately I got up and people were shocked as they realized what had been thrown,” he continued. “I knew the direction the banana came from, I shouted 'who threw the banana?' very angrily, as this is the most racially abused I have been in my entire life. Not a word was said, a girl in the stand had told me it was one of the guys in a shirt and tie.”
Apparently, it was person from the hockey team.
Pearce said he then confronted the hockey team and asked who threw it. But nobody spoke up.
"Not a single peep out of any of them and not a ounce of eye contact either. I knew it was them,” he said.
After the incident, three other people also came forward saying it the banana was thrown by a hockey player.
Pearce did not retaliate against the team for fear he would be stereotyped but he did report the incident to security. However, they were told they could not do anything because there were no cameras to record the attack. The trio left the stadium shortly after that but Pearce expressed his disappointment at the university’s inaction.
“After speaking to a few people from the university due to us reaching out to people, it seems the University of Sheffield is quick to dismiss the actions of their pupils, which saddens me as this will most likely be swept under the carpet and nothing will be done about this,” he told The Tab.
The University of Sheffield later reported they were aware of the incident and an investigation was ongoing.
The Sheffield men's hockey club said it was them who notified the university of the incident, but could not provide a statement since an investigation was ongoing.
A spokesperson for university said, “The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Students' Union will not tolerate racism and condemn the abhorrent behavior by an individual during the recent Varsity sporting event… This incident clearly contravened the values of inclusion and respect which are fundamental to both organizations and will not be tolerated.”
It is not clear how long the investigation will last and whether the perpetrator will be identified and disciplined.
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