Feeling down about the economy? Upset that American seems to be slipping through the cracks? Well, now you can feel comfortable knowing that other civilized nations are equally racist: According to THE SUN (via the English soccer blog THE SPOILER), Everton star Victor Anichebe was the victim of outright racial profiling up the trendy English hamlet of Chesire at a high-end jewelry store, where police accused him of planning to rob it when he was just staring at a display case.
(Does this man look like the kind of guy who would steal a Rolex?)
In fact, this is worst than just a simple profiling case, it looks more like British cops preying on a weakened victim. The 20-year-old Anichebe was hobbling on crutches after suffering a career-ending knee injury in recent weeks, and police still thought he was “casing out” the store for a future robbery.
The whole incident left the star shaken, just as it would, say, Shane Battier (that’s an American star with a similar profile).
He kept protesting: “I’m a footballer — I play for Everton. Why would I want to rob a shop?”
Since being arrested and almost immediately released, Anichebe received the apology he wanted from Cheshire police, but he’s not about to drop his beef, a move which might land the Cheshire P.D. a lawsuit.
Here’s what Anichebe, a Nigerian, is saying now while still on crutches:
“It was not only totally ridiculous but also highly embarrassing and totally humiliating,” his statement continued. ”Simply because we stood our ground and insisted that we had done absolutely nothing wrong, they decided to place my friend in handcuffs. I am currently having to use crutches to walk as I recently underwent surgery on a knee injury and - astonishingly - one of the officers even tried to grab the crutches in order to prevent me from ‘escaping’. After what seemed like an eternity the Police officers seemed to realise that they had made a mistake, acknowledging that I was a footballer with Premiership club and not someone who was preparing to commit a crime. …
“At the time, I asked the officers if they would have taken the action they did had I been white rather than black. Whilst I do not wish to turn this unfortunate and unnecessary incident into a race issue, I believe it is a question which does need to be asked. I am pro-Police - always have been and always will be. However, on this occasion they clearly got things badly wrong. Whilst both myself and my friend welcome the statement which has been issued by Cheshire Police this afternoon, we do not feel it constitutes the unreserved apology we were seeking and which we believe is justified under the circumstances.”
Wow. That’s easily the best written athlete statement we’ve ever read, and most believable when you listen to Anichebe in other settings. Hey, the Battier comparison works on multiple levels.