English Police Arrest 12-Year-Old for Sending Racist Messages to Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha
The messages threatened Zaha with racial violence, and include a photo of the KKK
Though soccer has tried to “Say No to Racism” for years, Black players across Europe are still subject to racist abuse from fans. Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha was victim to one such instance ahead of his club’s match against Aston Villa, and police in England have arrested a 12-year-old that was behind a series of menacing social media posts.
Zaha posted the messages he received on Instagram, which feature a racist slur as well as various racist images, including a Ku Klux Klan image:
Woke up to this today. pic.twitter.com/Zal0F96htJ
— Wilfried Zaha (@wilfriedzaha) July 12, 2020
The West Midlands Police department — which covers Birmingham, home of Aston Villa — replied to Zaha saying they were looking into the incident. Hours later, the department tweeted out that they had identified and arrested the source of the racist messages: a 12-year-old boy from the town of Solihull:
#ARRESTED| We were alerted to a series of racist messages sent to a footballer today and after looking into them and conducting checks, we have arrested a boy.
The 12-year-old from #Solihull has been taken to custody.
Thanks to everyone who raised it. Racism won't be tolerated. pic.twitter.com/oFxBUvdtV1
— West Midlands Police – #StayAlert (@WMPolice) July 12, 2020
Both clubs involved in Sunday’s match backed Zaha and admonished the messages, with Aston Villa retweeting Crystal Palace’s statement to add their own, saying that they would issue a lifetime ban for the culprit:
We are working with the police in investigating this extremely serious matter and when the culprit is identified AVFC will issue a lifetime ban. https://t.co/Wx5wJVA1ww
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) July 12, 2020
Zaha has been the target of racist abuse before: the 27-year-old Ivorian was subjected to social media racism back in October, with his club also tweeting out their support of the player and saying they had “taken action” against the culprits of that incident. As for the 12-year-old arrested on Sunday, police are not releasing his name, though Zaha’s original tweet did include the child’s handle.
This latest incident comes just weeks after the Premier League instituted a new system to allow players to report online abuse. Though Zaha went public with the abuse instead of going through that process, his manager, Roy Hodgson, supports that decision, saying “it is right that Wilf made people aware of it; I don’t think it is something he should keep quiet about.”
Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.
News From Around the Web
News From Around the Web