Soccer legend Ian Wright say EA "changed their whole policy" after FIFA player's racist messages

FIFA 20 No Room for Racism
(Image credit: EA)

Ian Wright, former striker for Arsenal, says that EA "changed their whole policy" after a FIFA player sent him racist Instagram messages, reports Eurogamer (opens in new tab)

In May 2020, 18-year-old Patrick O'Brien lost a game of FIFA Ultimate Team while playing with the Ian Wright icon card. He then sent the famous footballer a deluge of racist messages on Instagram and was spared a criminal conviction in Irish courts this past February. The judge in the case stated that "O'Brien had shown genuine remorse for his actions," wrote an apology to Wright, and donated 500 Euros to the Irish Network Against Racism - but Wright took to Twitter to express his disappointment (opens in new tab)

EA, however, issued a lifetime ban to O'Brien, wiping his FIFA accounts and telling Eurogamer "Ian Wright is a part of our EA Sports family." Wright spoke about EA's response on the March 3 episode of his Wrighty's House podcast, and says EA changed their harassment policy in response to this specific case. "EA Sports bro, they stepped up for me," Wright said. "After this attack they changed their whole policy. And you know with a company like that, the different levels, and can you imagine the legality you have to go through to change your policy? Not only for me, it's for their staff, for players, the talent, the people they partner with. Zero tolerance. Zero tolerance. And action will be taken."

While EA has not said outright that a policy change took place after the footballer was subjected to racist harassment, it did reveal its Positive Play Charter in June 2020, a month after the event took place. The Tweet announcing the charter reads: "When we all take on toxicity, we can create positive experiences, interactions, communities." It certainly seems like EA changed their policy after Wright's unfortunate and quite frankly upsetting experience, which is great to see.

Last June, FIFA 20 and Gears 5 added Black Lives Matter in-game messages. 

Alyssa Mercante is an editor and features writer at GamesRadar based out of Brooklyn, NY. Prior to entering the industry, she got her Masters's degree in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Newcastle University with a dissertation focusing on contemporary indie games. She spends most of her time playing competitive shooters and in-depth RPGs and was recently on a PAX Panel about the best bars in video games. In her spare time Alyssa rescues cats, practices her Italian, and plays soccer.