Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha believes black footballers are being put off using social media because of the volume of racist abuse.
The Ivory Coast international reported just one of many examples he has received earlier this month, which resulted in a 12-year-old boy being arrested in connection with the incident. The boy has since been released under investigation. The current generation of players are taking a stand, highlighting abuse in hope of creating change, and Zaha is glad to be witnessing such action. Zaha is proud to see the likes of Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford being vocal in the fight against racial discrimination. “Yes, we are [aiming to effect change],” he told CNN Sport. “I’m so happy when I see these other young black players just not having it anymore. I’m proud to see it because it’s been too long. You can’t just sit back and accept it. Enough is enough. How are you cheering me when I’m scoring? Then if I’m not doing what you’re happy with, I’m a monkey again? How does that make any sense? So, I’m proud to see Raheem and Marcus speaking up and making a change.”
But Zaha is convinced social media companies must take greater responsibility with respect to eliminating racist abuse. He added: “I reported 50 accounts… and 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?” Following the Premier League’s resumption in June, the competition supported the Black Lives Matter movement, which gained traction after George Floyd – an African-American man – died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. Club jerseys were adorned with a ‘Black Lives Matter’ patch, while all players and officials took a knee at the start of every match until the end of the season, but Zaha is bemused that such lengths have to be taken in 2020.