A 12-year-old boy in the UK was arrested after sending racist messages via Twitter to Crystal Palace striker Wilfried Zaha, police say.
Prior to his Sunday match against Aston Villa, Zaha revealed that he had received several racist and insulting messages on social media. West Midlands Police responded via social media to say they were investigating the incident.
Within a few hours, an arrest was made.
“We were warned about a series of racist messages that were sent to a footballer today and after looking at them and carrying out checks we arrested a boy,” read a police statement. “The 12-year-old from Solihull has been taken into custody. Thanks to everyone who raised it. Racism cannot stand. “
The posts come just two weeks after the Premier League launched a new system to allow league players to report abuse online, Sky Sports reported.
The messages, which Zaha shared via Twitter, included threats, images of the KKK and photo-popped images, all of which used rattles.
Crystal Palace chief Roy Hodgson said he supported Zaha̵
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“It’s very sad on the day of a game that a player wakes up to this cowardly and despicable abuse,” Hodgson said. “I think it’s right that Wilf made people aware of it. I don’t think it’s something he should be silenced about.”
“There is literally no excuse; there is no excuse at all.”
The Premier League also released a statement calling the behavior “totally unacceptable” and expressing full support for Zaha.
“We will continue to support players, managers, coaches and their family members who suffer severe discriminatory abuse online,” it said.
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The Premier League has recently taken a tougher stance on racism issues and highlighted the Black Lives Matter movement with players kneeling before kick-off in support of the movement.
Aston Villa beat Crystal Palace, 2-0.