International soccer’s ongoing battle against racism has overshadowed Italy’s thrilling Euro 2020 victory over England.
With the score tied 1-1 after regulation and extra time, Italy missed its first penalty kick and England made its first two. It looked good for host England, but Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka’s attempts were turned away. Italy went on to prevail 3-2, and the three Black players were racially attacked on social media.
In case you are wondering, white players scored England’s penalty kick goals.
The disgusting actions drew a rebuke from the England Football Association, which released a statement reading, “FA strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and is appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media.”
“We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team. We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.”
Prince William, the Queen of England’s grandson, heir to the throne and president of the English Football Association, wrote on Twitter, “I am sickened by the racist abuse aimed at England players after last night’s match.”
“This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media. Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves,” Prime Minister Boris Wilson wrote on Twitter.
England coach Gareth Southgate saluted the play of Rashford, Sancho and Saka during a Monday press conference.
“We heal together as a team now, and we’re there for them, and I know that 99% of the public will be as well, because they will appreciate how well they played,” he said.
England’s respected Financial Times published a commentary titled “Football, Racism and the England team” on Monday blasting the racist attacks.
“Sadly, in defeat, the evil demons that have stalked English football for decades — racism and hooliganism — have resurfaced. Such bile must not be downplayed.”
“Yet, the very fact that it has captured attention in both conventional and social media is paradoxically a sign of progress in both English football and wider society.
“In past decades, racist barracking was routine at English football grounds and was, shamefully, largely ignored by the football authorities and by television commentators. Black players, including those who represented the national side, were expected to react uncomplainingly.”
Also on Sunday, a mural dedicated to Rashford in Manchester for his campaign for free school meals for children in need in Britain was vandalized.