A group of professional black footballers were left shocked when they were told by a manager of Pizza Hut in Bournemouth to pay up front because of the way they looked.

Anton Robinson, Liam Feeney, Marvin Bartley and Mitchell Nelson, who all play for League One club Bournemouth, were left in shock and anger after visiting their local Pizza Hut in Bournemouth. When they ordered a meal which cost around £60, the manager arrived with the bill and asked them if they would mind paying first. The players challenged the manager and asked him if this was company policy, in which he replied no, when they then asked why he requested this they were told because of the way they looked, despite the fact that they were dressed in casual jeans, jumpers and cardigans.

To add insult to injury when the players took exception to being discriminated against the manager said that he would call the police if they did not pay. All this despite the fact that the players told him that they were professional footballers. Following a row staff called the police saying that the players had been ‘disruptive’. When the police arrived to interview customers who were witnesses they all said that the players were not shouting or abusive contrary to what the staff reported.

The players told the Mail Online (6 December 2010) that white customers were not told to pay in advance and that concluded for them why they had been asked to pay, because of their skin colour.

Pizza Hut denies that their staff racially discriminated against the players, stating that their staff can ask for customers to pay up front in a recent new policy. They also said that they will be contacting the customers to apologise.

Despite Pizza Hut trying to use legal jargon in this case, the evidence is very clear, The staff racially discriminated against the black footballers and the only reason why Pizza Hut would contact and apologise to them is most likely because they are black footballers, it would be bad for business and public relations.

It is also questionable that the police did not seem to follow up on a racist discrimination charge despite the fact that the Pizza Hut witnesses mentioned that the black footballers were not ‘disruptive’ as the staff claimed. The staff made a false call and nothing is being done about it to my knowledge.

Incidents such as this are a daily occurrence in the lives of people from black and minority ethnic communities and arguably the only reason why this particular one become a tabloid story is because black footballers were involved.

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