VILE racist abuse posted online about Sunderland footballer Fraizer Campbell has sparked a police investigation.
The striker was abused by a football fan after posting a jokey comment – or ‘tweet’ – on social networking site, Twitter.
An Irish-based member of the site, using the name TheReid1, posted the comment “@FraizerCampbell big f*****g n****r” in response to the tweet about the Republic of Ireland’s clash with Estonia.
Fraizer Campbell reposted the comment himself and added “Wow just seen this tweet! Disgraceful” and a link to a poster promoting the Kick Racism out of Football campaign.
TheReid1 later posted an apology and claimed the comment had been “just a joke”, but an SAFC spokeswoman today confirmed the club was treating the matter seriously
“The club has a zero-tolerance approach to any form of abuse. The matter has been handed over to the police and will be treated with the utmost seriousness,” she said.
A spokesman for Northumbria Police confirmed an investigation was under way: “Police are aware of this matter and inquiries are being made.”
Former Black Cats start Gary Bennett has worked closely with Kick Racism out of Football.
He said the recent furore over allegations involved England captain John Terry and Liverpool’s Luis Suarez had put the spotlight back on racism in the sport.
“I think over the last three or four weeks, we have seen it raise its head again and it has got worse,” he said.
“These incidents have been very high-profile and what happens is that people jump on the bandwagon.”
Fraizer Campbell is the second North East player to be racially abused on Twitter in recent days. Two teenagers were arrested last week over allegations of abuse aimed at Newcastle’s teenager striker Sammy Ameobi.
The forward, whose elder brother Shola also plays for the club, was called names by a follower.
Gary Bennett said the relative anonymity of sites such as Twitter encouraged users to resort to language they would not otherwise use:
“I think we can see that it does,” he said. “It is happening on a weekly basis now.”
“It was important to continue to raise awareness of the problem and point the finger at those responsible.
“We need to carry on doing what we are doing,” said Gary.