West Midlands Police have confirmed they are investigating racist messages sent to Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha’s social media accounts ahead of Sunday’s match against Aston Villa.
Zaha posted several screenshots of the abuse via his official Twitter account on Sunday morning, along with the caption: “Woke up to this today.”
This is completely disrespectful and should not happen.
We stand with you, Wolf, and anyone else who faces such horrific abuse. #CPFC https://t.co/9zXzm21JO5
— Crystal Palace FC (@CPFC) July 12, 2020
His manager, Roy Hodgson, praised the Ivorian international for going public about his abuse and confirmed that both Palace and Villa were trying to find those responsible.
“It’s very sad on a game day that a player wakes up to this cowardly and despicable abuse,” Hodgson was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
“I think it’s right that Wolff made people aware of it; I don’t think it’s something he should keep quiet about.
“I think it’s great that our club, Aston Villa and the Premier League are doing everything they can to find out who this despicable person is and one can only hope that they are identified and They will be held accountable.Pay for these actions.
He added that there is literally no excuse; There is no excuse.
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson praised Zaha for going public with abuse / Sebastian Frege/MB Media/Getty Images
Meanwhile, West Midlands Police said they were “looking into” racist messages.
Sky Sports pundit and former Wolves goalkeeper Matt Murray also weighed in, citing the need for more education amid a resurgence of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement in recent months.
“Credit Wilfried Zaha, dealing with him the way he has – getting out of the individual,” Murray said.
“It’s just disgraceful, no one deserves that and the crime needs to be punished. I think you have to throw the book at them – educate them, but throw the book at them.
Zaha receives messages in preparation for Aston Villa’s trip to Palace on Sunday afternoon/Justin Satterfield/Getty Images
“It should be on the record. They shouldn’t be employed, they should be sacked. I grew up in this area and no Aston Villa fan will condone that.
He added: “No one in football, no one in the world wants to see that. We see a lot of progress – so there needs to be a very strong punishment.”