Striker Bobby Grant denies racist abuse of Dagenham defender Gavin Hoyte, court hears
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Professional striker Robert Grant called an opposing defender a “coon” in the dying minutes of a football match played on a club anti-racism day, a court heard.
Rochdale AFC player Grant, known as Bobby, is alleged to have directed the racist slur towards opponent and Daggers player Gavin Hoyte in the 88th minute of a League Two clash between the two teams on January 12.
Grant appeared at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court today and pleaded not guilty to the offence of racially aggravated intentional harassment, opting to have the matter sent up to be heard by a Crown Court.
The offence is said to have occurred on the same day Dagenham and Redbridge FC were holding their Daggers Against Racism family fun day.
The club’s matchday programme read “discrimination of any kind has no place in football and here at Dagenham and Redbridge FC we do all we can to rid the game of any lingering discrimination.”
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Footballer Grant, who was dressed in a grey suit and tie, remained silent and attentive throughout court proceedings.
Defence lawyer Robert Shaw made a plea to prevent reporting of specifics in the case, but District Judge Gary Lucie said it was unusual to grant restrictions at this stage.
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He said: “He (Grant) may be a professional footballer, it may have happened on a football field but that doesn’t make any difference in my eyes.”
Twenty-two-year-old Grant, who joined Rochdale in August last year, will appear at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on May 30 for a committal hearing. He was granted unconditional bail.