Dele Alli needs to be banned.
The Tottenham Hotspur attacking midfielder made a grievous error of judgement on social media, posting a Snapchat video appearing to mock the outbreak of the coronavirus as well as an Asian man, per BBC.
He posted an apology on Weibo, a Chinese social media site, and he has also accepted that the joke “wasn’t funny”.
There has been uproar and rightly so. Spurs’ social media posts, posted from the official Twitter account, have been flooded with fans asking for an apology from the club.
It is no laughing matter. The coronavirus has killed more than 900 people in China, the BBC reports, and there are more than 40,000 known cases worldwide.
The British government have issued warnings about the virus; it is about more than just football.
Of course, Spurs are embroiled in a battle to finish in the top four under Jose Mourinho and have two key games coming up in the Premier League, against Aston Villa and Chelsea, the latter of whom sit fourth in the table.
Losing Alli would undoubtedly be a blow. He has scored seven goals in 18 Premier League games this season and provided two assists. He is a key member of Mourinho’s squad.
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But the precedent is there. Bernardo Silva was banned for one game and given a £50,000 fine after he compared team-mate Benjamin Mendy to a black character on a Spanish chocolate product.
The FA are currently investigating if Alli breached the rule E3(1); it bans players in the Premier League from making “improper” social media posts or bringing the game into disrepute. Silva was found guilty of the latter and Alli ought to be to.
In his video, he showed himself wearing a mask, panned the camera to an Asian man, and then showed a bottle of antiseptic hand gel.
He is 23 and there is no defence for such a post. He can claim ill-judgement or simply ignorance but the facts are there for all to see: He has behaved in a manner that has clearly brought the game into disrepute.
He is an England international and should know that his platform allows him to be seen by thousands of people from across the globe. On Twitter alone, he has 933,700 followers.
Alli, rightly or wrongly, is expected to set an example. He has not done that; he has done the exact opposite.
A ban has to be the right and proper outcome here.