Members of England’s Euro 2020 team have been subject to a wave of racist abuse after their loss to Italy in the final.
This has led to the condemnation of the acts from several people, including England captain Harry Kane, manager Gareth Southgate, politicians, and also from the targets of the abuse themselves.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka, the three England players that missed their penalty during the final’s penalty shootout, were the targets of the racial abuse.
The social media comments posted on the players’ personal accounts and on several other platforms have led to a police investigation and wide condemnation, while critics have also accused certain ministers of being hypocritical for not wanting to support the players taking the knee before games, but then supporting them after the damage is done.
Harry Kane wrote on Twitter that Rashford, Sancho and Saka “were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up & take a pen when the stakes were high”.
Three lads who were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up & take a pen when the stakes were high. They deserve support & backing not the vile racist abuse they’ve had since last night. If you abuse anyone on social media you’re not an @England fan and we don’t want you. pic.twitter.com/PgskPAXgxV— Harry Kane (@HKane) July 12, 2021
“They deserve support & backing not the vile racist abuse they’ve had since last night. If you abuse anyone on social media you’re not an @England fan and we don’t want you.”
England manager Gareth Southgate stated during a press conference that such abuse is ‘unforgivable’.
Rashford was also targeted outside of social media, with a mural of him in Withington, Manchester, that was painted in November 2020 due to his work for the community, being vandalised.
The Manchester United forward was praised over the COVID-19 pandemic for his work in campaigning for free school meals for vulnerable children in the United Kingdom.
The vandalised portions of the mural were quickly covered up, and people started to attach letters and red hearts to the wall, as they sought to support Rashford and his England teammates during this difficult time.
Rashford later on responded on social media, saying “I can take critique of my performance all day long, my penalty was not good enough, it should have gone in but I will never apologise for who I am and where I came from”.
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He then thanked the people that supported him, with “The messages I’ve received today have been positively overwhelming and seeing the response in Withington had me on the verge of tears.”
“The communities that always wrapped their arms around me continue to hold me up. I’m Marcus Rashford, 23-year-old, black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester. If I have nothing else I have that.”
The England national team responded to the racist abuse on social media, stating “We’re disgusted that some of our squad – who have given everything for the shirt this summer – have been subjected to discriminatory abuse online after tonight’s game.”
We’re disgusted that some of our squad – who have given everything for the shirt this summer – have been subjected to discriminatory abuse online after tonight’s game.— England (@England) July 12, 2021
We stand with our players ❤️ https://t.co/1Ce48XRHEl
Several football clubs have also condemned the racist abuse that the players received, including the clubs that the three players play for, Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal, along with other rival clubs.
Racism is a growing issue in sport, and while it is constantly being tackled, lots of work still needs to be done, especially on social media, with it being a platform that allows people to speak freely.
Several calls to increase the security in social media have been made in recent months, in order to efficiently track down people writing such racist abuse, and to also not allow them to create new accounts.
Since the incidents after the final, both Twitter and Facebook have stated that they quickly removed the abusive messages after they were posted, along with suspending numerous accounts for violating the rules of the platforms.
However, much more is needed in order to tackle this issue, with racism and hate speech growing due to social media.
Racism has no place in football, any other sport, or in any of our lives.
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