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Aug 26, 2012

Police: Carlton Cole target of racist tweets

A 22-year-old man was arrested Sunday in connection with racist Twitter messages aimed at West Ham striker Carlton Cole, police said.

The man, from Southend in Essex, was arrested on suspicion of a "racially aggravated public order offence," the county's force said.

The footballer highlighted the messages he received on the social networking site following his side's defeat at Swansea on Saturday.

The 28-year-old player was targeted by the supposed Hammers' fan in two foul-mouthed postings after the side lost 3-0 in south Wales.

The comments, which the player retweeted from his @CarltonCole1 account, questioned his performance and used a racist term to describe him.

"Police have arrested a 22-year-old man from Southend on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence following tweets sent to @Carltoncole1 (West Ham player Carlton Cole) on Saturday, August 25," an Essex Police spokeswoman said. "Investigations are ongoing."

Following the postings, Cole took to the social networking site himself to criticize his aggressor.

"Listen, I take racism a lot lighter than others and I do understand the banter that comes along with it to get under people's skin, but it can sometimes be hurtful and insulting," he wrote. "I don't mind when people criticise me for having a bad game or they think I'm crap at football but just say that.

"Whether I am crap or had a bad game has nothing to with my race, creed or religion. lets just keep it FOOTBALL. Kapeesh?"

Fellow West Ham players Matt Jarvis, Kevin Nolan, and Guy Demel were also subjected to abuse.

Daily Telegraph football correspondent Henry Winter called for police to investigate the racist rant.

"I hope the police take action over the racist abuse aimed at @CarltonCole1 on twitter tonight," he posted on his Twitter account.

In 2009, Cole was also the subject of racist abuse when Millwall fans at Upton Park aimed monkey chants at him during a Carling Cup clash.

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