Sheffield Wednesday supporter Dale Houghton, 31, was pictured laughing as he held up a phone displaying a picture of the six-year-old, who died of cancer, towards Sunderland supporters during a match at Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium on 29 October.
Houghton, from Rotherham, was given a 12-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months at Sheffield Magistrates Court on Friday, after previously admitting a public order offence at the same court.
District Judge Marcus Waite also ordered the 31-year-old to do 200 hours of unpaid work and gave Houghton, who had been a Sheffield Wednesday season ticket holder for 25 years, a five-year football banning order.
Sentencing Houghton, Mr Waite said: “You showed callous disrespect to a brave young man who was rightly held in the highest esteem by football fans everywhere.”
The district judge branded Houghton’s actions “utterly appalling” and “disgraceful”.
Mr Waite also imposed a £154 victim surcharge and ordered him to pay £85 prosecution costs.
The judge said that, although the offence was almost spontaneous, the defendant took some time to Google the image of Bradley on his phone. He said to Houghton that, during this brief moment: “Did you not think to yourself ‘what the hell am I doing?’.”
But Mr Waite said he believed the defendant had shown “genuine remorse” after hearing how he had lost his job as a window fitter over the incident and also a second job, once his new employers found out what he had done.
The court was also told how Houghton had moved out of his parents’ home due to the backlash over his actions and his relationship with his partner had also suffered.
Earlier, prosecutor Mark Hughes said the incident happened after Houghton and his brother had been engaged in “standard football banter” with a group of 200 Sunderland fans, which escalated to them taunting each other with the badges of their rivals – Newcastle United and Sheffield United.
At this point, Houghton Googled the image of Bradley and was photographed showing it to the Sunderland fans and laughing “to p**s them off”, the court heard.
Houghton, who had been drinking before the match, left the ground when Wednesday went 2-0 down, to go to the pub, and only found out later the scale of the turmoil he had caused on social media after the image was shared, the prosecutor said.
Connie Coombs, defending said her client accepted his actions were “outrageous”, “deplorable”, “atrocious” and a “heinous act”.
Ms Coombs said it was “a moment of utter stupidity in the context of back-and-forth between himself and the Sunderland fans”, adding that alcohol contributed to the offence, which was “out of character”.
The court previously heard Houghton told police he was taking part in “enjoyable banter” and “that was the reason he was smiling”.
Ms Coombs said: “He’s effectively having to start his life again,” adding that he thought this was “understandable and justified”.
She said: “He wishes to express his deep remorse, certainly to Bradley Lowery’s family, as well to the general public.”
The defendant wore a blue suit with a white shirt and patterned tie as he sat alone in the glass-fronted dock.
When he arrived at court he was asked whether he was sorry for what he had done and he replied: “Yes. Extremely sorry.”
Houghton, of Black Carr Road, Wickersley, had pleaded guilty to one count of intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress by displaying any writing, sign or other visible representation, which is threatening, abusive or insulting.
In a statement read to the court, his mother described the “emotional turmoil” Houghton’s actions had caused.
At a previous hearing, the defendant listened as prosecutor Jade Scott read out part of a handwritten personal statement from Ms Lowery, who said: “This image has made me feel so many emotions, I find it hard to put into words.”
She said it was “disrespectful” to her son and also to other children who were suffering from cancer.
Ms Lowery said: “I feel upset that these two men have used this image of Bradley to get a reaction from the Sunderland fans.”
District Judge James Gould noted that the statement went on to describe the incident as “unforgiveable” and that “she has nothing but loving memories of Bradley”.
Previously, a statement was read to the court from Sheffield Wednesday’s chief operating officer Liam Dooley, who said the actions of Houghton were “utterly deplorable behaviour” and “in no way represent the values of the club”.
Describing Bradley as “one of the most inspirational children this world has ever seen”, former Black Cats striker Jermain Defoe told MailOnline he was “appalled and saddened” by Houghton’s actions. Bradley had led England out at Wembley alongside Mr Defoe in the months before his death.
Ms Lowery posted on Facebook: “Understandably people are angry, if I wasn’t so upset I’d be angry too.
“Bradley was and still is well-loved in the football community, which I’m eternally grateful for.”
She said: “I want to thank Sheffield Wednesday for their quick condemnation, and the support their fans have shown.”
A GoFundMe fundraising page set up by Sheffield Wednesday fans after the incident has raised more than £18,500 for the Bradley Lowery Foundation as football supporters from across the country united in sharing heartfelt messages in support of Bradley.
The Bradley Lowery Foundation was established in 2017 after Bradley’s mother Gemma raised more than £1million for her son’s treatment before he died. The foundation thanked those who backed the fundraiser and said the money raised would go toward a holiday home in Scarborough for children with cancer.