"You don't get to stoke the fire"
Home Secretary Priti Patel has been criticised by England footballer Tyrone Mings who has accused her of pretending to be disgusted by the racist abuse.
England went to penalties after it ended 1-1 against Italy.
However, they lost after Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missed their penalties.
The three young players then received vile racist abuse on social media.
The likes of manager Gareth Southgate and captain Harry Kane have condemned the abuse while also giving their support to the trio.
England and Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings said:
“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.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also criticised the abusive social media posts.
Home Secretary Priti Patel had tweeted:
“I am disgusted that England players who have given so much for our country this summer have been subject to vile racist abuse on social media.
“It has no place in our country and I back the police to hold those responsible accountable.”
In the House of Commons, she condemned the “sickening racist abuse” that Rashford, Sancho and Saka had received, saying:
“Racist abuse is utterly unacceptable and illegal, whether it takes place in front of people or online – and those individuals who commit racist offences should rightly face the full force of the law.
“Social media companies, in particular, have a clear responsibility for the content that they host on their platforms and they can no longer ignore some of the appalling, vile, racist, violent and hateful content that appears on their platforms.”
However, Mings was not happy with Patel’s response, accusing her of “stoking the fire”.
He said: “You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ and then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens.”
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
His comments come after Patel said in June 2021 that taking the knee was a form of “gesture politics”.
The national team and other English football clubs have been taking the knee as a form of anti-racist protest.
Speaking to GB News, Patel had said she did not support “people participating in that type of gesture politics”.
On whether she would criticise fans who booed England players taking the knee, she said:
“That’s a choice for them, quite frankly.”
Since his post, many netizens have sided with Tyrone Mings.
One person said: “Well said. Taking the knee is not a gesture – it is a mark of respect, of the importance of people of colour in our society, and a recognition of the racism they so often experience.”
Another person wrote:
“I hope this emboldens every inclusive thinker, particularly the opinion formers in the Premier League, the arts and social media to take on this corrupt and racist government.
“This is a fight for the future of our country and how we are perceived worldwide.”
Many have accused Patel of hypocrisy, given her stance on previous issues.
For example, she described the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests as “dreadful”.
A netizen said: “You supported booing them for taking the knee, though.
“Some could argue our government are sending mixed messages.
“You routinely endorse racism, division and xenophobia through your actions, but then act ‘disgusted’ when many in our society follow your example.”
“Hypocrite. Hypocrite. Hypocrite. You couldn’t even support them taking the knee.”
A third said: “You condoned racists booing them while they’re using a symbolic gesture to protest against racism in their sport and wider society. You literally encouraged this.”
Boris Johnson was also labelled a hypocrite by critics after he urged England fans not to boo footballers taking the knee.
His message came after he previously failed to criticise fans who jeered the anti-racism protest.
Ex-England footballer Gary Neville said:
“The prime minister said it was OK for the population of this country to boo those players who were trying to promote equality and defend against racism.
“It starts at the very top.
“I wasn’t surprised in the slightest that I woke up to those headlines; I expected it the minute that the three players missed.”
Meanwhile, Marcus Rashford issued a poignant statement on Twitter.
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) July 12, 2021
He said: “I’ve grown into a sport where I expected to read things written about myself.
“Whether it be the colour of my skin, where I grew up, or, most recently, how I decide to spend my time off the pitch.
“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.”
He added: “I’m Marcus Rashford, 23-year-old, black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester. If I have nothing else I have that.”