As world sports is voicing anew against discrimination in the wake of George Floyd’s death, racial abuse marks another victim in football. Wilfried Zaha, the Crystal Palace striker received xenophobic threats ahead of the match against Aston Villa, coming from a fan of the opposition, who was later arrested and found out to be a 12 year old!
Wilfred Zaha finds his inbox filled with hate speech
Zaha had received the abusive texts on his official Instagram by an individual with the username jackdolan_avfc, and the player revealed the shocking incident via screenshots on Twitter.
‘You better not score tomorrow you black c**t’, ‘Or I’ll come to your house dressed as a ghost’, were the messages the user had sent to Zaha, along with a picture of the Ku Klux Klan, also known as the KKK, an American white supremacist hate group, and an imagery of ‘blackface’, which is a racial stereotype against black people.
“Woke up to this today,” Zaha tweeted the screenshots.
Woke up to this today. pic.twitter.com/Zal0F96htJ
— Wilfried Zaha (@wilfriedzaha) July 12, 2020
The tweet went viral among the netizens, who condemned the racial slurs on the Ivorian forward.
“This is an absolute disgrace and should not be happening,” Palace’s official handle tweeted, “We stand with you, Wilf, and anyone else who has to suffer such horrific abuse.”
This is an absolute disgrace and should not be happening.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) July 12, 2020
The West Midlands Police started the investigation for the perpetrator, and today evening they confirmed on Twitter that the user is a 12 year old from the town of Solihull, who now has been taken into custody.
We deplore the disgusting racist messages sent to @wilfriedzaha. We condemn all forms of racial discrimination and stand with @CPFC,” Aston Villa expressed their support for Zaha. The club also added that a lifelong ban will be issued to the perpetrator.
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
Premier League, which now has every player and staff before a match to take a knee in solitary with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign, sent in their support for Zaha, and have also launched an online abuse reporting system.
We will continue to support players, managers, coaches and their family members who receive serious discriminatory online abuse. Through our dedicated reporting system we can take immediate action on cases like this
— Premier League (@premierleague) July 12, 2020
The match at Villa Park today ended with a 2-0 victory for the hosts, as the Lions forward Trézéguet scored a brace.