Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha awoke to threatening racist messages in his Instagram DMs, Sunday, and shared them before Palace’s match with Aston Villa. West Midlands Police have since arrested the user who left the comments, identified as a 12-year-old boy.
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“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,” a police statement reads. “The 12-year-old from Solihull has been taken to custody. Thanks to everyone who raised it. Racism won’t be tolerated.”
The boy demanded Zaha not score, or he would come to the player’s house dressed as a ghost. He also attached several racist pictures.
“It is very saddening on the day of a game that a player wakes up to this cowardly and despicable abuse,” Palace manager Roy Hodgson told reporters. “I think it is right that Wilf made people aware of it; I don’t think it is something he should keep quiet about.
“There is literally no excuse; there is no excuse at all.”
After returning from a coronavirus postponement, Premier League teams have added a Black Lives Matter patch to players’ kits.
Aston Villa won Sunday’s match against Crystal Palace 2-0.