Merseyside police are investigating after the Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli was the victim of racial abuse on Twitter on Sunday following his reaction to Manchester United’s shock collapse at Leicester City.
Balotelli, a member of the Liverpool side who lost 3-1 at West Ham United on Saturday, tweeted: “Man Utd...LOL” as United headed to a 5-3 defeat at the King Power Stadium. His tweet was met by a string of racist messages, including one from an account called @CraigSainsbury which included the n-word and concluded: “Got eat some bananas and get ebola you dirty monkey.” The account from which the tweet was sent subsequently appeared to have been closed.
The abuse prompted the anti-discrimination group Kick It Out to contact the police. A spokesperson said: “We extend our support to Mario Balotelli after the appalling racist abuse directed at him on Twitter earlier today. A large number of social media users alerted us to the messages by tweeting our official account and we have since reported this via True Vision – the police’s online reporting facility.
“During the 2013-14 season, 50% of all complaints submitted to us from across the game related to social media abuse. The issue has been escalating and we urge fellow social media users to assist in bringing this type of abuse to the attention of the authorities by reporting directly to True Vision.”
Merseyside police said: “We can confirm officers are looking into offensive comments made on Twitter about Mario Balotelli earlier today.”
Balotelli has been singled out for racist abuse in the past. He was heckled by Italy supporters during a pre-World Cup training camp in May and was on the receiving end of numerous instances of racist abuse during his time at Internazionale and, more recently, Milan.
Balotelli spoke about the abuse directed at him in an interview with GQ magazine in July. “They aren’t used to seeing people who are different, not white, who act not as rebels but normally,” he said. “I think what the ignorant people don’t like is that people who are different are allowed to act that way. These stupid people, they get angry with me, they say horrible things, but I haven’t done anything different from other people.
“I have made mistakes, like everyone does, and I have always paid for my mistakes. I think that if I was white maybe some people would still find me irritating or annoying but it wouldn’t be the same. Absolutely not. Jealousy is a horrible thing, but when this jealousy is towards people who are different from the majority, and who maybe also have more than you, then it becomes anger, it becomes rage, and that’s the overt racism.”
The former Liverpool player Stan Collymore is among others within the game who have been victims of racism on Twitter.SOURCEAbsolutely disgusting, how people can be. Also mods, I've submitted an updated version of the article.