A 12-year-old boy has been arrested after Crystal Palace player Wilfried Zaha exposed the racial abuse he experienced prior to Sunday's Premier League match at Aston Villa, the New York Times reports.
On Saturday, Zaha tweeted out several racists images and comments he received from an Aston Villa fan account, tweeting, "Woke up to this today."
The racist messages include Klu Klux Klan images and comments threatening him if he scores during the match. This moved the West Midlands Police in England to investigate the account, leading to the arrest of a 12-year-old boy from Solihull, England.
"We were alerted to a series of racist messages sent to a footballer today and after looking into them and conducting checks, we have arrested a boy," the West Midlands police tweeted. "The 12-year-old from Solihull has been taken to custody. Thanks to everyone who raised it. Racism won’t be tolerated."
This is far from the first racist incident to happen in professional soccer. Per a February ABC article, England's anti-racism and pro-inclusion soccer group, Kick It Out, released statistics detailing that discriminatory acts motivated by gender, sexual orientation, religion, and race had increased by 32% during the 2018-2019 season. Of these reported incidents, 65% were racial. While FIFA and its governing body, UEFA, claim to be committed to combating racism, some communities have taken it upon themselves—like Sunday's arrest—to show that racism will not be promoted.