‘They’re picking a battle with the WRONG guy’: Patrice Evra insists his conviction for using homophobic language DOESN’T represent him – but admits he has ‘so much to learn’ after labelling PSG players ‘queers’ in 2019
- Patrice Evra was fined £2,670 last week for using homophobic language in 2019
- The ex-France star claimed the language was ‘normal’ when he was growing up
- Evra said that he is ‘not fine’ with the image that has been painted of him
Patrice Evra has vowed to ‘keep learning’ after his criminal conviction for making homophobic comments in 2019, insisting that the ‘vulgar language’ was normal while he was growing up.
The ex-France star filmed an expletive, homophobic rant towards Paris Saint-Germain in the wake of their Champions League defeat versus Manchester United in 2019.
After United’s 3-1 victory, Evra reportedly went to dinner in Paris with a friend of Paul Pogba, who asked him to send a mocking video to a PSG fan.
The ex-Red Devils captain was filmed saying: ‘Paris, you are queers, you are queers. Here, it’s the men who talk.’
The Snapchat video caused outrage across France and prompted two anti-hate organisations – Mousse and Stop Homophobia – to complain in March 2019.
Patrice Evra was fined €3,000 (£2670) last week for posting homophobic abuse online in 2019
The ex-Red Devils captain claimed homophobic language was ‘normal’ while he was a child
Evra subsequently attended a police interview and last Thursday received a collection of fines in court. He picked up an initial fine of €1,000 (£890) and was ordered to pay €2,000 (£1,780) in compensation to the two anti-hate campaign groups.
‘I’m hurt because this doesn’t represent me,’ Evra told The Times this week. ‘Yes, I used vulgar language because when I was growing up this was normal. It makes me think I have so much to learn but I will keep learning.
‘The police were laughing because they know I didn’t use the words [to be offensive]. They say we don’t have to pursue the case because we know who Patrice is.
‘It was a private message, I used words that were used when I was a kid. It was the way I grew up.’
Despite his criminal conviction, Evra claimed that the complainants were ‘picking a battle with the wrong guy’.
A Snapchat video of the ex-French international in 2019 saw him call PSG’s players ‘queers’
‘It was a private message, I used words that were used when I was a kid. It was the way I grew up. The problem is you have to adapt. It is a new world. I apologised straight away because I could see I offended people,’ he continued.
‘For four years they fight but they are picking the battle with the wrong guy if you see what I have done all my life, which is to accept everyone for who they are.
‘It’s painful because it’s not who I am. I have to pay those two associations and I hope they are going to use the money for good things but it is not just about the money, it’s about me being in this situation when I am not that person.
‘I made a mistake. In my youth it was not a mistake and now it is. Since that incident I have never used those words.
‘I have acknowledged the homophobia problem in the football world so it’s really crazy for me to get this bad press for something I did four years ago.
‘It was not because I meant it, I just used those words. I offended people, I apologised many times.
His X-rated rant followed his former team Manchester United beating Paris Saint-Germain
‘I lost the case, and I paid them and I am fine with that. But I am not fine with people trying to describe an image I am not.’
Following Thursday’s conviction, the complainants’ lawyer, Etienne Deshoulieres, released a statement saying: ‘The homophobic remarks of a personality like Patrice Evra fuel hatred and violence against LGBT people, in particular in countries where homosexuality is criminally repressed, like in Senegal, the country where Patrice Evra comes from’.
Evra was born in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, and then moved to Paris as a young child.
Jerome Boursican, for Evra, said his client had ‘not wanted to harm the homosexual community,’ and was instead just ‘aiming [insults] at PSG’.
The lawyer said Evra had published an apology video the day after the offending one was broadcast.
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