The Hague: Three Dutch citizens were handed a 360-euro fine Monday for discriminatory remarks after a social media "selfie" posted by Dutch international Leroy Fer drew a slew of distasteful comments.
"The Public Prosecutor has fined three suspects 360 euros ($391) in connection with their comments on Facebook regarding the selfie," prosecutors said in a statement.
"Should they not pay, they will have to appear in front of a judge," it added.
Fer, one of the black players in the Dutch national football squad, posted the picture last November, showing him and eight other black members of the Oranje (Orange) Eleven as the Dutch team is known.
However, the picture drew a number of negative comments including comparing the players to apes and slaves, as well as the now controversial "Black Pete" figure, a topic of heated debate that has divided the Netherlands.
The Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) at the time strongly condemned the comments.
The debate around Black Pete, the jolly sidekick of the Dutch Saint Nicholas, called Zwarte Piet in Dutch, has exposed the sensitive subject of racism in the liberal-minded Netherlands.
Many say that Pete -- traditionally dressed in a gaudy medieval costume with a blackened face, red lips and an afro wig -- is a racist throwback to colonial times.
Black Pete`s defenders say he is black from coming down the chimney and refuse to admit there might be anything racist about the historic character.