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Lock up race hate idiots, says Simon Zebo

RUGBY star Simon Zebo has called for prison sentences for people who racially abuse players during games.

Ulster Rugby banned a spectator for life last year after Mr Zebo was insulted while playing for visitors Racing 92 at Belfast's Kingspan Stadium.

The Cork-born player said: "Ulster banned him, but who decides if that's too much or too little? There's no place for racism in any sport, but nothing seems to be happening.

"If someone is going to say that and think they're a tough guy, I'd see how tough they are after six weeks in jail.

"If I punched someone in the street, that's what would happen and it's the same thing in my eyes. More needs to be done to stop it."

The 30-year-old suffered racist abuse when he was growing up but thought those days were gone.

"Growing up in Ireland and playing all sports, I got stuff like that when playing against kids who didn't know the impact of what they were saying," he said.

"As a kid, you're full of rage. When you're older, you're disappointed. I'm disappointed that it happened to me and that it happened in Ireland."

Ulster Rugby thanked supporters for coming forward to identify the spectator who racially abused Mr Zebo.

The club said at the time: "Following a robust investigation into allegations of abuse directed at Simon Zebo during the fixture versus Racing 92, Ulster Rugby has sanctioned a lifetime ban on a spectator for breaching our stadium regulations. We are all very proud of our reputation as an inclusive club, and the unacceptable behaviour of this one individual is not reflective of our supporters or the values of our club."

After the Champions Cup clash, Mr Zebo tweeted: "I hope my ears deceived me with some comments directed my way from the crowd. #Not on - Django wins in the end."

The end of the tweet was a reference to Quentin Tarantino's 2012 film Django Unchained, about an African-American slave who tracks down his wife after securing his freedom.

Zebo's father is from the Caribbean island of Martinique and his mother is from Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph