12-year-old arrested for sending racist messages to Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha

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A 12-year-old boy from the town of Solihull, England has been arrested for allegedly sending racist messages to Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha on Instagram.

Hours before Crystal Palace was scheduled to face Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday, Zaha tweeted a sampling of racist messages he recently received. Included in the messages were an image of a man in blackface and an image of the white-hooded Ku Klux Klan. It’s not known if any of those messages are from the boy who was arrested in Solihull.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson gave Zaha his full-throated support before the game.

“It is very saddening that on the day of a game that a player wakes up to this cowardly and despicable abuse,” Hodgson said, via SkySports. “I think it’s right that Wilf made people aware of it; I don't think this is something he should keep quiet about. ... There is literally no excuse; there is no excuse at all.”

Wilfried Zaha received racist messages on Instagram, and the police have arrested a 12-year-old boy who may be responsible. (Photo by MICHAEL STEELE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Wilfried Zaha received racist messages on Instagram, and the police have arrested a 12-year-old boy who may be responsible. (Photo by MICHAEL STEELE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Premier League quote-tweeted Zaha’s tweet and issued this statement: “This behavior is completely unacceptable and the Premier League stands alongside Wilfried Zaha in opposing this, and discrimination in any form. There is #NoRoomForRacism, anywhere. We will continue to support players, managers, coaches and their family members who receive serious discriminatory online abuse.”

The boy was arrested by police officers from the county of West Midlands. The police department issued a statement about the arrest on Twitter.

Barely two weeks ago, the Premier League launched a reporting system for players, coaches, managers and their families to report “discriminatory online abuse.” It’s not yet known if that reporting system was used in this situation.

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