Wilfried Zaha on racist abuse: 'We need action, education and change'

Wilfried Zaha kneeling before Crystal Palace's Premier League game at Aston Villa on Sunday
Wilfried Zaha's manager Roy Hodgson called the abuse "cowardly and despicable".

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has called for "action", "education" and "change" after being racially abused on social media.

A 12-year-old boy has been arrested by police investigating racist messages sent to Zaha, which the player revealed before Sunday's defeat at Aston Villa.

The Premier League called the abuse of the 27-year-old Ivory Coast winger "completely unacceptable".

Zaha thanked police, and also thanked fans for their "love and support".

But in a social media message he added: "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 that social media companies do as they did yesterday [Sunday] and seek out these individuals and remove them."

West Midlands Police said on Monday that "a 12-year-old boy arrested in connection with racist social media messages sent to a footballer has been released under investigation while our enquiries continue".

Zaha said it was "not the first time" he had received similar messages and said footballers are being racially abused "every day".

On Monday, Sheffield United revealed striker David McGoldrick had also been sent racist messages on social media.

Zaha added: "It's 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."

Zaha revealed he had received several abusive messages on social media before Sunday's trip to Aston Villa, a game they lost 2-0.

Jenas wants social media companies to do more to tackle racism

The Premier League said: "This behaviour is completely unacceptable and the Premier League stands alongside Wilfried Zaha in opposing this, and discrimination in any form.

"We will continue to support players, managers, coaches and their family members who receive serious discriminatory online abuse."

Players in England's top flight have been kneeling in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before every match since the season restarted in June.

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