A football player in Canada has been fined by both the Canadian Football League (CFL) and his team over anti-Semitic tweets, The Toronto Star reports.
The CFL and the Montreal Alouettes fined defensive lineman Khalif Mitchell an undisclosed amount for “tweets violating the league’s social media policy”, according to the report.
The CFL and the Alouettes began looking into Mitchell’s social media conduct after B’nai Brith Canada, the Jewish human rights advocacy group, alerted them to “hateful content” on his Twitter account.
Mitchell recently tweeted a link to a 2015 YouTube video titled “The greatest lie ever told – The Holocaust,” which called the murder of 6 million Jews an “alleged” act.
Mitchell has also posted or retweeted comments and video on the terrorist group ISIS, police behavior, the American military and photos with assault rifles, noted The Star.
B’nai Brith told the newspaper it received a complaint a few weeks ago about “bizarre postings and outlandish conspiracy theories” on Mitchell’s account.
Sam Eskenasi, spokesman for the group, said he alerted the CFL and the Alouettes to the situation Tuesday.
The group said it didn’t get a response, so CEO Michael Mostyn decided to go public with a news release Wednesday.
“As an all-star and role model for Canadian youth, Mr. Mitchell should not be sending out divisive and hateful tweets under the banner of the Montreal Alouettes organization,” Mostyn said in the release quoted by The Star.
In 2012, the CFL fined Mitchell after he used derogatory terms against people of Chinese descent.
“It is surprising that given his past misbehavior on Twitter these public postings have gone unnoticed by the Alouettes,” Mostyn said.
“While understanding that we cannot judge the stream of consciousness of individuals who share offbeat Internet postings, these repugnant tweets are shameful not just to Mr. Mitchell, but the entire Alouettes organization which he represents by displaying its logo and proudly donning its jersey on his Twitter account,” he added.
Molstyn said he understands that people are free to disagree with the actions of police or government, but directing hate towards men and women in uniform coupled with re-postings of Holocaust denial videos “have crossed the line.”
Following the press release, both the CFL and the Alouettes announced the fine.
“There is absolutely no place in our league for commentary used to divide or disparage others along the lines of sex, race, religion or sexual orientation,” CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge said in a statement.
“While we acknowledge that players have a right to hold and express their own opinions, in no circumstance do we condone activity or comments that are derogatory or inappropriate, putting the league’s reputation in question — and we feel Mr. Mitchell’s recent posts on social media have violated these principles,” he added.
The Alouettes responded as well by denouncing Mitchell’s “regrettable postings.”
In addition to the league fine, the Alouettes have fined Mitchell the maximum amount allowable under CFL rules for violating the team’s social media policy.
“His postings are disappointing and in no way reflect the opinions and values of the Montreal Alouettes,” Alouettes president and CEO Mark Weightman said in a statement quoted by The Star.
“His postings were completely unacceptable and the Alouettes apologize to anyone who was offended by them,” he added.