Friday 20 September 2019

Townsend urges players to join racism fight as fans abuse Zaha

Townsend: ‘We’ve got to move on’. Photo: Getty
Townsend: ‘We’ve got to move on’. Photo: Getty

Luke Edwards

Andros Townsend has encouraged more black players to follow the lead of England internationals Danny Rose and Raheem Sterling in calling out the alarming rise in racist attacks.

Crystal Palace's 1-0 victory over Newcastle United means they have all but guaranteed their place in the Premier League, but sadly it became just another match soured by racist abuse as Wilfried Zaha was subjected to ugly taunts on Twitter after the game.

Zaha won the penalty that was dispatched by Luka Milivojevic to earn Palace their seventh away win of the season and then shared an abusive message received from a Newcastle supporter on social media. Zaha laughed it off, but such incidents seem to tarnish every weekend.

Although there is widespread condemnation when England players are victims abroad, English football can no longer claim the moral high ground when so many receive abuse on social media before and after matches.

Troy Townsend, father of Palace winger Andros, even called for players to stop using Twitter, a boycott designed to put pressure on the company to do more to ban users guilty of sending racist messages.

Asked about Rose's admission that he had been ground down by football racism, Andros Townsend replied: "Of course I sympathise with him, Danny's a very brave man for coming out and being so honest and speaking the truth.

"We need more players like Danny to say what they really feel. We've got to move on in football and kick racism out as much as we can. It's crept back in a little bit which is not great.

"Luckily, so far, I haven't experienced racism, but I know Danny has on more than one occasion from England Under-21s to the other day."

As for Newcastle, this was a miserable day. Manager Rafael Benitez again put pressure on the club to agree to his demands to sign a new contract, defender Florian Lejeune suffered cruciate knee ligament damage and the side missed a succession of chances.

"We had control of an important game, we could have got three points and we could be talking [about the contract] because we are safe," said Benitez. "But now we have to carry on and think every game is another final. That [getting it agreed with the club] is what we are trying to do, but I don't want to talk too much about that." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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