Chelsea soccer player Jon Obi Mikel quit Twitter and the club condemned fans who assailed him with racial abuse following a critical mistake in a match this week.
An errant pass by Mikel allowed Champions League opponent Juventus to score late for a 2-2 tie against Chelsea and cost Mikel's club a likely opening round win on Wednesday night. Following the gaffe, angry Chelsea supporters used Twitter to send Mikel, who is originally from Nigeria, a series of racist messages.
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Mikel shut down his account less than 24 hours after the match but later said he didn't do so because of the racial abuse, according to a Mirror report.
Chelsea then posted this message to Twitter on Thursday:
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Abuse on social networks is abhorrent. Racist tweets towards Mikel are totally unacceptable. Police informed. #CFC supports strongest action
— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) September 20, 2012
No word yet on whether police have found or plan to punish the racist tweeters.
Racist abuse against players of African descent has long been a problem in English football, and that dynamic has definitely continued as Twitter and other social media platforms have given fans more direct access to sports stars worldwide.
West Ham United striker Carlton Cole was sent a pair of disparaging messages by a 22-year-old Twitter user after a match last month. During the Euro 2012 international tournament in May, a man sent racist tweets to two members of the English national team after they missed crucial penalty kicks in an elimination match against Italy. And in March, a student was sentenced to 56 days in jail for a racist message he posted about Bolton Wanderers star Fabrice Muamba.
Do you think the racist tweeters should be charged? Let us know in the comments.
This story originally published on Mashable here.