12-Year-Old Arrested for Racist Messages Sent to Wilfried Zaha on Instagram

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2020

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace looks on during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea FC at Selhurst Park on July 07, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Peter Cziborra/Pool via Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

West Midlands Police arrested a 12-year-old boy Sunday after he sent a series of racist messages and images to Crystal Palace's star winger Wilfried Zaha on social media, per ESPN.

Zaha took screenshots of the messages and posted them to his Twitter account (warning: tweet contains racist images and profanity):

The messages came before Aston Villa's 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. Both sides took a knee before the match began in support of the Black Lives Matter movement—as all Premier League sides have been doing since the league restarted in June—and both clubs released statements condemning the racist messages sent to Zaha:

The Premier League also released a statement:

"It is very saddening on the day of a game that a player wakes up to this cowardly and despicable abuse," Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson said, per Sky Sports. "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 [for the racist messages]; there is no excuse at all."

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Other clubs and former footballers also offered their support for Zaha:

Zaha started Sunday's game from his usual spot on the wing. In 35 total appearances this season (34 starts), he's posted four goals and three assists.