A 36-year-old Lithuanian accountant, Petras Lescinskas, who sports a bald head and beard, is making Olympic history. But not for any good reason, unfortunately. He is the first person convicted of a racially aggravated offense at the London Games.
Crazy, right? Apparently this guy Lescinskas was part a disgusting group of Lithuanian basketball fans who took it upon themselves to make monkey chants during their country's match against Nigeria. Then he had the audacity to stand up and make a Nazi salute -- placing his fingers across his lips. His defense was "it is common practice in his country to celebrate in this way and it is something he has been doing for some time." Um, yeah right.
There is actually a law saying you can't do shiz like this, specifically "any crime that has or may have an impact upon the effective delivery or image of the Games." So clearly he violated this and deserves his punishment. Go Great Britain!
He pleaded guilty under the Public Order Act and was then fined 2,500 pounds (nearly $3,900). Should have been more in my opinion. Talk about being completely disrespectful to the athletes competing. You can root against another team, but there was no need to take it to this ignorant, offensive level. I'm glad Great Britain took these necessary steps to punish this guy.
The way he was caught sounds kind of badass too: Reportedly undercover police were able to infiltrate the stands due to complaints of gross behavior from Lithuanian fans at an earlier match against Argentina. No word yet on if they're doing anything about the group this guy was with.
Still, I can't imagine a law like this going down in the U.S. Freedom of speech and all that. It could be a slippery slope -- but I don't really care. The Nigerian players put in so much work and so much time and so much heart to play in the Olympics, and to blatantly disrespect them like that with no provocation means this guy simply shouldn't be at an event like the Olympics. Even though countries compete against each other, it's still a unifying event in a way. Respect for one another and celebrating athletes of every background is of the utmost importance during these few weeks.
Are you glad this guy got punished and fined? Or is Great Britain overstepping?
Image via j9sk9s/Flickr