Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has suggested that only “action”, “education” and “change” are the possible ways to tackle the increasing tension of racial attacks after he was racially abused on social media.
A 12-year-old boy has been arrested by police investigating racist messages sent to Zaha, which the player revealed before Sunday’s defeat at Aston Villa.
The Premier League called the abuse of the 27-year-old Ivory Coast winger “completely unacceptable”.
Zaha thanked police, and also thanked fans for their “love and support”.
But in a social media message he added: “People need to understand that whatever your age, your behaviour and your words come with consequences and you cannot hide behind social media.
“It is important that social media companies do as they did yesterday [Sunday] and seek out these individuals and remove them.”
West Midlands Police said on Monday that “a 12-year-old boy arrested in connection with racist social media messages sent to a footballer has been released under investigation while our enquiries continue”.
Zaha said it was “not the first time” he had received similar messages and said footballers are being racially abused “every day”.
On Monday, Sheffield United revealed striker David McGoldrick had also been sent racist messages on social media.
Zaha added: “It’s not enough to be disgusted by these messages I received and move on. It isn’t enough to just say #notoracism. We need action, we need education, things need to change.”
Zaha revealed he had received several abusive messages on social media before Sunday’s trip to Aston Villa, a game they lost 2-0.