Emmanuel Frimpong finds himself, intentionally or not, at the centre of a race storm on Tuesday after appearing to suggest he would have a better chance of playing for Arsenal if he was white and English.
Frimpong is not part of Arsenal’s squad for their Capital One Cup tie with Chelsea and was asked by a follower why he had not been picked.
According to multiple reports, including that of Paul Collins from the Daily Mail, Frimpong replied “LOL I wanna laugh” before adding the following:
"Sometimes I wish I was white and English #realtalk."
The 21-year-old quickly deleted the controversial tweet, according to Collins’ article, but screenshots were posted by fans:
Why did Injury prone Arsenal player Emmanuel Frimpong delete this tweet? pic.twitter.com/eNvtyJ61sR— Neil Johnson (@neiljohnson1974) October 28, 2013
Frimpong later attempted to clarify the situation by tweeting:
Look what ever you read tomorrow has majorly been twisted. Is a joke what people will do to start controversy goodnight people— Emmanuel Frimpong (@IAMFRIMPONG26) October 28, 2013
Arsene Wenger had earlier addressed the decision not to select Frimpong in the squad, revealing on Arsenal’s official website: “He is still short of competition.”
UPDATE: Tueday, Oct. 29, at 6:58 p.m. ET
From Sam Wallace of The Independent:
Wenger said that Emmanuel Frimpong would have been added to the squad today but was 'sick'— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceIndy) October 29, 2013
---End of update---
The argument can certainly be made on the part of Frimpong that there is only one way to address Wenger’s concerns over a lack of competition. If he needs match sharpness, he needs games.
However, the reported tweet carries the rather more serious indication that Frimpong feels the club favour white and English players when it comes to selection.
Certainly there appears to be no such prejudice at the Emirates, with Kieran Gibbs a fixture at left-back, while Serge Gnabry was handed a new long-term deal on Monday, per the club's official site.
Wenger has signed numerous black players over the years, with Kolo Toure, Sol Campbell, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry just four of the high-profile names to have brought success to the Gunners.
Should Frimpong be in the Arsenal squad to face Chelsea?
It is suggested by Peter Wood of Metro that Frimpong’s tweet was a mainstream rap lyric, but neither the timing nor the hashtag that accompanied it reflect well on the young midfielder.
Only Frimpong truly knows what he meant in the alleged tweet, but once again he has attracted unwanted headlines following an incident last year—again on Twitter—when he was fined for calling a Spurs fan “Scum Yid," per the Press Association via the Guardian.
The Ghanaian is a combative midfielder who earned rave reviews during a loan spell at Wolves, but too often his off-field behaviour—accurately or not—portrays him as a loose cannon.