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MANCHESTER, England (AP) — A man with a history of soccer-related violence was handed a 16-week prison sentence on Wednesday for assaulting and racially abusing Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling outside the Premier League club's training ground.
Karl Anderson pleaded guilty at a court in Manchester to racially aggravated common assault. He smiled as he was sentenced.
The incident took place on Saturday as Sterling arrived at City's Etihad Campus in his car ahead of a Premier League match against Tottenham.
The 29-year-old Anderson drove his van alongside Sterling's vehicle, and both men got out. Anderson shouted racial abuse at Sterling, including telling the player: "I hope your mother and child wake up dead in the morning." He then used a racist slur.
Anderson kicked the legs of Sterling on four occasions, leaving the City player with a sore left hamstring but without serious injury. Sterling started the match against Tottenham hours later and scored two goals in a 4-1 win.
"I didn't think this type of behavior still happened in this country in this day and age," Sterling said in a victim statement that was read to the court.
Anderson had 25 previous convictions for 37 offenses, including throwing a flare at a police officer during a soccer match. He was already subject to a soccer-related violence banning order that prevented him from attending certain matches.
"He apologizes through me to Mr. Sterling for his actions," said John Black, who was defending Anderson in court.
Black said Anderson had lost his temper after his girlfriend asked him to ask Sterling for an autograph.