Nigerian-born Adebayo Akinfenwa who has become known as the strongest footballer in the world in various editions of FIFA videogame series has reportedly vowed that more action must be taken to fight racism after he claimed he was referred to as a ‘fat water buffalo’ by a Fleetwood Town representative.
The Wycombe Wanderers fan favourite appeared against Joey Barton’s outfit on Monday night, helping his side earn a 2-2 draw and a 6-3 aggregate victory on home soil in the League One play-off semi-final.
But the 38-year-old admitted the night was one of mixed emotions, with the joy of reaching the play-off final soured by apparent remarks from the opposition that left him ‘dehumanised’.
It is unknown if the allegation concerns a member of Fleetwood’s playing or coaching staff.
Wycombe are aware of the incident and have offered their support to Akinfenwa while the FA have also been alerted.
Akinfenwa took to Twitter to reveal his experiences of suffering racial abuse, highlighting how much more needs to be done to eradicate it from society.
He said: ‘Monday night was one of the highlights of my career with Wycombe so far as we secured our place in the League One Play-Off Final at Wembley.
‘However, what should have been an evening of joy and excitement quickly turned into one of anger and frustration
‘Following the conclusion of the game I learned that a representative of the opposition had repeatedly referred to me as a Fat ‘Water Buffalo’ in a derogatory tone.
‘Regardless of whether or not there was deliberate racial intent by using that language, and irrespective of the context in which it was used, if we are to make real and long standing change then we must strive to educate each other about these issues.
‘We must work together to ensure those who have not and do not face racial prejudice understand that what may appear to them to be a throwaway remark can have such a big and hurtful impact.
‘A Water Buffalo is a dark animal and as a black man I believe that you have dehumanised me by associating me with a dark animal as this was said in a derogatory manner.’
Akinfenwa went onto say he has been racially abused throughout his career.
He added: ‘Throughout my life I have had to deal with many forms of racial abuse, both overt racism as well as covert racism.
‘As a footballer, I have experienced the same throughout my career, dating back to when I suffered severe and widespread racism playing in Lithuania.
‘I have always vowed to stand up and have a voice when it comes to racism, believing that education is ultimately the key to a future without racial discrimination.
‘I feel passionately around raising this because we as a sport and as society must wake up. We must do more.
‘We must educate ourselves and understand the potential repercussions of using such language and be aware of the hurt it can cause.
‘The bigger issue to me would be the lack of understanding as to why calling me this term would not be hurtful to me as black man, and this must change.’