Everton FC midfielder Ross Barkley is believed to have been racially abused in a controversial newspaper article published in The Sun.
Barkley’s paternal grandfather is Nigerian and his father, according to Kickoff.com, is Liverpool resident Peter Effanga.
The alleged racist abuse contained in the article was sequel to Barkley being punched in a Liverpool bar last weekend.
His lawyer had described the incident as an “unprovoked attack”.
But it was the write-up by columnist, Kelvin Mackenzie, which caused the most uproar as he compared Barkley to a “gorilla at the zoo”.
Support, however, came the way of the player from Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson who brought the case to the police.
The Merseyside police have confirmed that they are presently investigating the circumstances of the “racial hate crime”.
Anderson hinted that Mackenzie was fully aware of Barkley’s Nigerian roots, which could explain the racist taunt.
The mayor said the article is “not only is it racist in a sense that he is of mixed-race descent,” but “equally its racist stereotype”.
Several former and current Liverpool players have reacted to the article. Ex-Liverpool striker Stan Collymore said, “it’s implied racism at its finest”.
Ross Barkley has represented the English national team 22 times since 2013, scoring two goals.
He played for England at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and at the 2016 Uefa European Championship.