Ivory Coast international Wilfried Zaha was subjected to racist abuse on social media ahead of Crystal Palace’s match against Aston Villa last weekend.
But West Midlands Police have released a 12-year-old boy who was arrested after racist messages were sent to Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.
Zaha posted several screenshots of the racist abuse he had received to his social media accounts on Sunday morning before the Palace’s match against Aston Villa on Sunday, alongside the caption: “Woke up to this today.” The posts come just two weeks after the Premier League launched a new system to allow Premier League players to report online abuse.
Writing on social media, Zaha thanked West Midlands Police for their swift response to the incident but says that everyone in society has to realize that actions have consequences.
“The 12-year-old boy arrested in connection with racist social media messages sent to a footballer has been released under investigation while our inquiries continue,” West Midlands Police said on Twitter.
“Racism has no place in society and we’re attempting to contact the footballer to obtain a statement.”
“Very disappointed we didn’t get a better result yesterday but I wanted to come on here to thank you all for all your messages of support,” Zaha wrote.
“I would also like to thank West Midlands Police for their swift action in making an arrest.
“People need to understand that whatever your age, that your behavior and your words come with consequences and you cannot hide behind social media.
“It is important social media platforms do as they did yesterday and seek out these individuals and remove them.
“This is not the first time I have received messages like this, nor am I the only player to receive messages like this – it happens every day.
“I want to thank everyone for the love and support but enough is enough! It is not enough to be disgusted by these messages I received and move on.”
West Midlands Police said after the game they had arrested a boy from Solihull in relation to the incident, but have since confirmed in a statement that the individual has been released while their inquiries continue.