After England were defeated by Italy in a the penalty shootout at the EURO 2020 final on Sunday, the social media accounts of at least three of the sides’ brightest stars of the future — three young, black men brave enough to step to the penalty spot knowing they might ultimately fail — were bombarded with racist abuse.
The English Football Association released the following statement immediately there after, condemning the “such disgusting behavior” and vowing to “urge the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible” — via the BBC:
“The 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 behavior 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.
“We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real life consequences. Social media companies need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making their platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse.”
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 stand with our players ❤️ https://t.co/1Ce48XRHEl
— England (@England) July 12, 2021
The three England players most commonly targeted by the racist perpetrators were:
- Marcus Rashford, who during the pandemic campaigned — and succeeded — in securing government-funded meals for children who otherwise wouldn’t have food to eat while not attending in-person schooling
- Jadon Sancho, who previously worked with sponsors to build new football fields in the underserved London borough from which he hails, so that children like him will have access to the sport
- Bukayo Saka, who at just 19 years old is growing into his role as a voice for youth football and helping local communities as well
These three players should be celebrated for the active roles they have taken to make England and the world a better place for others to live in, irrespective of the national team and any on-field successes they have had thus far, not to be further insulted and discriminated against for any reason whatsoever, let alone on the day which is surely the worst of their professional careers.