Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha has responded after a 12-year-old boy who sent him a string of racist abuse on social media was arrested by West Midlands Police.
The Ivory Coast international posted screenshots of a number of messages sent to him via Instagram Direct Messages ahead of his side’s Premier League game against Aston Villa.
Palace lost 2-0 thanks to a brace from Trezeguet, but the incident meant the spotlight was shone on society’s ongoing problem with racism once again.
In a statement on Twitter, Zaha said: “Very disappointed we didn’t get a better result yesterday but I wanted to come on here to thank you for all your messages of support.
“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, your behaviour 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.
“It isn’t enough to just say #notoracism. We need action, we need education, things need to change.”
The fact that such an incident is a daily occurrence on social media in 2020 was underlined after Sheffield United forward David McGoldrick came forward with racist abuse he had been subjected to over the same weekend.
The Republic of Ireland striker posted a screenshot of a message he had been sent after scoring twice in his side’s 3-0 win over Chelsea on Saturday.
The Blades tweeted a statement of support for McGoldrick on Monday morning, pledging to work with authorities to identify the individual behind the messages and bring them to justice.
As more footballers come forward with their experiences of being racially abused, pressure is growing on social media platforms to do more to prevent it and punish individuals who send abusive messages.