His celebration was in protest against the monkey songs to which he had been subjected by some Kortrijk fans in September 2015 in another match of the Belgian Pro League.
“It’s pretty crazy”
The 29-year-old has been a strong voice in the fight against racism given his experiences during his professional career.
Kabasele says he has received numerous abusive messages on his personal social media accounts and the Watford player has urged the platforms to do more to resolve the issue.
“When you are in the stadium, the fact that you are surrounded by other people, you simply disconnect your brain and you do something stupid,” Kabaselse told CNN Sport in March, before the season ended. Premier League – due to the Covid-19 pandemic – as he pondered the racist behavior of some fans.
“But when you write something on Instagram or on Twitter, you have time to think about what you’re doing and it’s worse than something going on in a stadium.
“It’s pretty incredible that someone can think of doing this. Like this player did, so I’m going to go to my phone and send him bananas or a monkey emoji. It’s pretty crazy.”
Kabasele, who has played twice for the Belgian national team, has reported such messages in the past, but is disappointed with the lack of action from different platforms – such as Instagram – on occasion.
Following the 2015 incident in Belgium, Kabasele posted a photo of him with a monkey. He asked in his message if he “looked like a monkey”.
Kabasele told CNN that Instagram had deleted his post, saying the footballer had broken their rules. He also said that he had been repeatedly targeted on the social media account, adding that when he reported the racist messages, he was told that the platform did not consider this offensive.
“Racism is not tolerated on Instagram,” said Instagram owner Facebook in a statement to CNN Sport. “When we find content that violates our guidelines, we delete it and ban those who repeatedly break the rules.
“We are investing heavily in new technologies to protect our community and we recently introduced a new security feature that allows public figures to prevent unwanted contact and control who sends it to Instagram.
Instagram did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment explaining why it had deleted Kabasele’s post. Twitter had not responded to CNN at the time of publication.
Kabasele says that while education is essential in the fight against racism, he wants social media companies to do more to hold people accountable for what they publish.
Confronted by a fan
In addition to the online comments, Kabasele provided graphic details of the racism he suffered as a player.
After starting his professional career in Belgium, the defender joined the Bulgarian club Ludogorets Razgrad in 2011 where he says he has been the victim of racism on several occasions.
He said that almost every away game was spoiled by “monkey” songs or bananas thrown on the field.
On one occasion, while waiting for the team bus to leave, he said that a fan confronted him and called him “f ** king N-word” before leaving with his friends.
The Bulgarian Football Union did not immediately respond to CNN Sport’s request for comment, but a spokesperson for Ludogorets Razgrad said: “It is very strange for me to read this. Because it is not not true. We are a very tolerant nation. ”
Kabasele was in his early 20s when he went to play in Bulgaria, but found the experience extremely disturbing. With hindsight, he would no longer play in Bulgaria given what he experienced as a young player there.
“When you see this kind of thing, you understand that people are really closed and that they don’t want to be open to someone different, to someone from another culture, from another country”, said Kabasele.
“If you tell me now that you can go there and work in this kind of country, I will probably say no because I don’t want to live this anymore.”
In addition to the singing of the monkeys, some Bulgarian spectators made Nazi greetings during the match in October 2019.
Kabasele continued to report abuse during his playing career, but tries to keep these experiences away from his family, including young children, in order to protect them.
Since his interview with CNN Sport, Kabasele has publicly supported the Black Lives Matter movement which has grown in recent weeks.
“It’s time to speak, no matter your ethnicity.”
Earlier Sunday, Crystal Palace striker Wilfried Zaha revealed that he had been the target of racial abuse, this time before his Premier League match against Aston Villa.
The Palace and Ivory Coast star wrote on Twitter: “I woke up today”, then showed what it had been sent by a user who appeared to be a Villa fan.
“You better not mark tomorrow as c ** t black. Or I’ll come to your house dressed like a ghost,” wrote the person.
There was an accompanying image of the Ku Klux Klan and a cereal box named “c ** n flakes”.
West Midlands police later announced on Sunday that they had arrested a 12-year-old boy from Solihull after investigating racist messages sent to Zaha