After England’s Euro 2020 defeat, black players have faced racial abuse

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  • Online insults directed at black players who missed final penalty kicks.
  • An investigation has been begun by the police.
  • Ministers denounce abuse but are accused of hypocrisy.

After England’s defeat in the Euro 2020 final, black players in the team were exposed to a barrage of online racial abuse, garnering widespread criticism from the team’s captain, manager, royalty, religious leaders, and politicians.

Marcus Rashford, 23, Jadon Sancho, 21, and Bukayo Saka, 19, were abused after missing spot-kicks in a penalty shootout with Italy that decided the final on Sunday after the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

The remarks provoked a police inquiry and widespread condemnation, however some opponents accused some politicians of hypocrisy for refusing to endorse the players’ high-profile anti-racist stance during the tournament.

On Twitter, England captain Harry Kane stated, “Three lads who were fantastic all summer had the bravery to step up & take a pen when the stakes were high.”

“They deserve help and support, not the nasty racist insults they’ve been subjected to since last night. You’re not a @England supporter if you attack others on social media, and we don’t want you.”

The abuse was deemed “unforgivable” by England manager Gareth Southgate.

“I know a lot of it came from overseas, and individuals who track those things have been able to explain it,” he said during a press conference.

The England team has received accolades for their anti-racism stance, and several players have also advocated for other social causes. The squad’s multi-racial makeup was praised as reflecting a more diversified modern Britain.

The squad had raised awareness of racism by kneeling before all of their games, a protest started by American footballer Colin Kaepernick and followed by the Black Lives Matter movement last year, claiming it was just a simple display of support against racism.

Some spectators, on the other hand, have booed the gesture, which opponents see as a politicization of sport and a show of support for far-left ideology.

Some ministers have been accused of hypocrisy for refusing to condemn those who booed and for using the incident as part of a larger “culture war,” which is often depicted as a schism between those who want to preserve Britain’s heritage and a “woke” youth who see their elders as obstructing efforts to end racial and social injustice.

On Twitter, Prime Minister Boris Johnson remarked, “This England squad deserves to be hailed as heroes, not racially attacked on social media.” “Those who perpetrated this heinous crime should be ashamed of themselves.”

While Johnson has stated that the squad should not be booed, when asked about the problem last month, his spokesman first refused to criticize the crowd.


Priti Patel, the interior minister, had previously stated that she did not support players kneeling because it was “gesture politics” and that it was up to spectators to decide whether or not to boo players. She joined many who protested the abuse on Monday.

Johnson and Patel were accused of hypocrisy by the opposing Labour Party.

“The acts, words, and inactions of leaders have repercussions,” Labour leader Keir Starmer said. “Because the prime minister did not acknowledge the booing, anything he says today is hollow.”

While the players’ social media feeds also revealed a lot of love, the abuse overpowered the positive words.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said anyone who mistreated the players must be held accountable, and Prince William, the president of the Football Association in the United Kingdom, said he was appalled.

“It’s very intolerable that players have to put up with this heinous behavior,” said Queen Elizabeth’s grandson.

Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time Formula One world winner, expressed his support for the players.

The Football Association said such “disgusting behavior” was not welcome, and UEFA, the governing body of European soccer, echoed the FA’s request for the harshest possible penalties.

Officers with the London Police Department said they were aware of the abusive and racial remarks and would take action. A mural of Rashford, who had pushed for increased care for impoverished children during the pandemic, was also defaced.

After a private communication in which she stated Rashford should have spent more time refining his skill than “playing politics,” a legislator from Prime Minister Johnson’s Conservative Party also apologized.

The issue of online harassment of players led to a temporary boycott of social media platforms by British soccer officials ahead to the event, and the country is considering legislation to compel internet companies to do more.

A Twitter spokeswoman claimed the company had erased over 1,000 tweets and permanently suspended a number of accounts, while Facebook said it had promptly removed nasty remarks and that players could use a tool to block objectionable communications.

Source: Reuters

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