Newcastle United striker Papiss Cisse has allegedly been racially abused by a local English Defence League group on its Facebook page.
NBC Sports reports that the 28-year-old Cisse, a Senegalese Muslim, informed his team that he would not wear next year's new kit, sponsored by short-term loan company Wonga.
Cisse is refusing to wear the new shirt because Muslims are forbidden from profiting from money-lending under Sharia law, although as the Telegraphreports, Cisse wore the logo of Virgin Money last year, a bank which offers interest loans.
According to the Huffington Post, the annual interest rate on Wonga loans works out to a shocking 4,214%, raising eyebrows and ire among many Britons who consider the company to be "legal loan sharks."
Northumbria Police are now involved in the Cisse case after racially abusive comments were posted on the Facebook page of a group calling itself Newcastle-English Defence League.
"We have been made aware of abusive comments made on Facebook," Northumbria Police Superintendent Dianne Winship told reporters. "Northumbria Police take all reports of abuse very seriously and enquiries are being conducted."
The English Defence League (EDL) is a highly controversial far-right street protest movement seeking to stop what it sees as the spread of Islamic Sharia law in Britain.
The EDL says it is not racist and that it is only standing up for England's white working class, which it sees as under threat from Muslims and immigrants who are taking over the country. But despite public disavowals of racism, EDL members and supporters have publicly called for "sending the black cunts home" and have been seen giving Nazi salutes. EDL members and/or supporters have repeatedly attacked non-whites, especially Muslims. They have set an anti-royalist demonstrator on fire, attacked Asian passengers on the London underground, attacked a bus full of black passengers, and vandalized and, allegedly, burned mosques. EDL supporters have also repeatedly attacked police, sometimes with bricks and explosives.
The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) is standing behind Cisse, supporting his decision not to wear the new Wonga-sponsored kit.
"We're all aware that clubs need to generate revenue and sometimes have to use a wide range of companies, PFA deputy chief Bobby Barnes told Football365.com. "However, if someone feels very, very strongly that it's not compatible with their beliefs, then some sort of solution should be found."
Cisse, who has signed a 5.5-year deal with Newcastle United, scored 13 goals in 43 appearances last season, and has improved significantly since former teammate Demba Ba was sold to Chelsea in January.