"It's just not what we stand for."
Several England players have reacted to the racist abuse aimed at Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka.
The trio received abuse shortly after England’s defeat to Italy at the Euro 2020 final.
In the tense match on July 11, 2021, the match went to penalties with the score at 1-1.
England started well, with a small lead over Roberto Mancini’s side.
However, the Italians went on to win after Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missed their penalties.
What followed was a wave of vile racist abuse towards the three England players on social media. The abuse included racist slurs and monkey emojis.
Since then, fellow England players and many others have come out in support of Rashford, Sancho and Saka.
In a news conference, England manager Gareth Southgate described the racist abuse towards his players as “unforgivable”.
He said: “It’s just not what we stand for.
“We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together, in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody, and so that togetherness has to continue.
On the abuse alongside other disrespectful and offensive behaviour from a minority of supporters, Southgate said:
“We can’t control that. We can only set the example that we believe we should and represent the country in the way that we feel.
“I think the players… have had a positive effect on lots of areas of society but we can’t affect everything.
“Other people have responsibilities in those areas and we’ve all got to work collectively to constantly improve those things.”
Captain Harry Kane condemned the racist abuse in a tweet.
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
He wrote: “Three lads who were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up and take a pen when the stakes were high.
“They deserve support and 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.”
Midfielder Mason Mount issued a lengthy statement, giving his thoughts on the loss as well as his sadness over the racist abuse that his teammates have suffered.
— Mason Mount (@masonmount_10) July 12, 2021
Kalvin Phillips, of Leeds United, was disgusted to see the racist abuse on social media towards the three young players.
Absolutely disgusted at the unnecessary racist abuse I've seen online directed at my teammates. Nothing but love and respect for my brothers for their courage @BukayoSaka87 @Sanchooo10 @MarcusRashford, keep your heads up high. We'll come back stronger ?? https://t.co/fQVyLweqEX
— Kalvin Phillips (@Kalvinphillips) July 12, 2021
Tyrone Mings wrote: “Waking up today and seeing my brothers being racially abused for being brave enough to put themselves in a position to help this country, is something that sickens, but doesn’t surprise me.
“We have literally made history. We’ve gone where no one else has gone. Take that in.”
Mings went on to accuse Home Secretary Priti Patel of pretending to be disgusted by racist abuse after she previously described taking the knee as “gesture politics”.
Throughout Euro 2020, England have taken the knee before matches.
In June 2021, Priti Patel called it an act of “gesture politics”.
Following the racism aimed at Rashford, Sancho and Saka, Patel slammed the abuse.
However, Mings criticised her, saying she had “stoked the fire” by refusing to criticise fans who booed the England team for taking the knee.
You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens. https://t.co/fdTKHsxTB2
— Tyrone Mings (@OfficialTM_3) July 12, 2021
Jude Bellingham, who made history by becoming the youngest player to play at a European Championship, called the racism “hurtful”.
We win together and we lose together. So proud to have teammates with such top character. Takes huge bollocks just to volunteer. As for the racism, hurtful but not surprising. Will never get bored of saying that more needs to be done. Educate and control the platforms!?? pic.twitter.com/LHSBoZin8O
— Jude Bellingham (@BellinghamJude) July 12, 2021
The 18-year-old wrote: “We win together and we lose together.
“So proud to have teammates with such top character. Takes huge b*****ks just to volunteer.
“As for the racism, hurtful but not surprising. Will never get bored of saying that more needs to be done.”
“Educate and control the platforms!”
A statement issued by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge read:
I am sickened by the racist abuse aimed at England players after last night’s match.
It is totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour.
It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable. W
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) July 12, 2021
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was appalled at the racist abuse.
He tweeted: “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.”
Since England’s loss, a mural of Marcus Rashford was also defaced with racist graffiti.
However, many have come out in support of the 23-year-old, covering the abuse with supportive notes.
The Manchester United forward has since issued a statement, revealing that he has received handwritten letters of support and that the response left him “on the verge of tears”.
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) July 12, 2021
Many have sent messages of support to the three players, encouraging them to stay strong during such a difficult time.
Others have pointed out that the three players took England to a major final for the first time in 55 years, despite their young ages.
Some netizens revealed the work they do for their communities off the pitch.
Rashford, in particular, raised £200 million for children’s meals in 2020.
While the national team and many English football clubs have called for action to be taken against racial injustice, it is clear that the fight is far from over.