Wilfried Zaha says black footballers are scared of using social media due to the persistent racial abuse they are always subjected to. He noted that most of the footballers don’t find Instagram in particular as fun as it ought to anymore.
On his own part, the Crystal Palace forward revealed that the racial abuse he has been subjected to in the past has made him scared of checking his direct messages because he could meet “anything”. The 27-year-old Cote d’Ivoire right-winger noted that he didn’t have a Twitter app on his phone over the fear of being racially abused via it.
“Every time I’m scared to even look up my direct messages because it could be filled with anything,” Zaha told CNN.
“For black footballers, for instance, being on Instagram is not even fun for us any more.
“You’re not enjoying your profile. I don’t even have Twitter on my phone any more because it’s almost certain that you’re going to get some sort of abuse.”
Wilfried Zaha was in the news prior to Crystal Palace match against Aston Villa on July 12 after he took to Twitter and shared screenshots of racially motivated direct messages he got from an account identified as “Jack”. He captioned it with: “woke up to this today”.
One of the messages read: “You better not score tomorrow you black cunt. Or I’ll come to your house dressed as a ghost.” Unfortunately, Wilfried Zaha could not score for Crystal Palace as Aston Villa defeated them 2-0.
Woke up to this today. pic.twitter.com/Zal0F96htJ— Wilfried Zaha (@wilfriedzaha) July 12, 2020
While the match was ongoing, the West Midlands Police in England began to investigate the account that appeared on the screenshots Zaha shared. The police were able to trace the handler of the social media account and it happened to be a 12-year-old boy.
He was arrested and later released for further investigation. The account of the 12-year-old whose identity was not made public was blocked. However, the Crystal Palace star told CNN that he still got messages containing racial abuse.
“I got racially abused after the stuff that I got before and it’s like, what happens after that account gets blocked? Then they just make a new one straight after.
“I feel like with everything that we do in life, with everything we register to, we have to give some sort of ID, so why is it not the same with Instagram? Why is it not the same with Twitter?”
“I’m scared to even look up my direct messages anymore. It could be filled with anything.”@wilfriedzaha tells @MirrorDarren that he was left shocked after a 12-year-old boy sent him a KKK image on Instagram.— CNN Football (@CNNFC) July 29, 2020
👉 https://t.co/ez4zpfBuUB pic.twitter.com/BBlGoicg0C
Wilfried Zaha is not alone
Wilfried Zaha is not the only Premier League player that recently revealed the racial abuses he has been subjected to on social media. After he made his own public, 32-year-old Sheffield United forward, David McGoldrick became the next Premier League footballer that decided to share a screenshot of the racial abuse he recently suffered on social media.
As a club we will support David McGoldrick and will do all we can to find the perpetrator of this disgusting message.— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) July 13, 2020
We will work with the relevant authorities to ensure the person behind this post is brought to justice.
This cannot continue. Something needs to change. pic.twitter.com/z94kfClCCe
To minimize the incessant instances where black footballers are being faced with racial abuse, The Professional Footballers’ Association held talks with social media companies in an attempt to find a way forward from such a menace.
After the talks, the players’ union’s coaching and equalities executive, Iffy Onuora, confirmed that the meeting the association had with representatives of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter was supportive. However, the impact of the meeting is yet to be seen as at last check.