“This is how we will now remember this,” writes Jameela Jamil of the Euro 2020 final. “Not as the extraordinary victory of such a brilliant England team for even making it to the final, but as the lowlife vitriol of football fans.”
England has, in the words of manager Gareth Southgate, “made history” at the Euro 2020 tournament. No, they haven’t “brought it home” – the football team sadly lost 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Wembley. However, in meeting Italy on the pitch for that climactic last game, they have given the nation its first ever Euro final (not to mention an array of glittering silver medals).
But, amid the rush of positive tweets from proud fans, three of England’s players – Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka – have become the targets of racist abuse for failing to score their spot-kicks in the shootout.
“We’re disgusted that some of our squad – who have given everything for the shirt this summer – have been subjected to discriminatory abuse online,” reads a statement posted to the England team’s official Twitter account.
Elsewhere, the Football Association has issued its own statement condemning the behaviour of football fans, which reads: “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.”
The Metropolitan Police, meanwhile, has opened an investigation into the abuse. “We are aware of a number of offensive and racist social media comments being directed towards footballers following the #Euro2020 final,” they said.
“This abuse is totally unacceptable, it will not be tolerated and it will be investigated.”
“The way England treats #MarcusRashford #Saka #Sancho will define it for the next decade not the #penalties. Some really ugly disgusting repulsive stuff out there,” reads a tweet from activist and author Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu.
“England, you are showing your true colours.”
Jamil, meanwhile, writes: “All of that progress. All of that love and pride and unity, all to end in racism and abuse. That’s how we will now remember this final. Not as the extraordinary victory of such a brilliant England team for even making it to the final, but as the lowlife vitriol of football fans. They are attacking Italian fans, abusing Black people in the street and domestic abuse is predicted to rise by 38% if England loses.
“What is this? Why do they never learn? What punishment has to happen for them to learn? Does England have to be banned everywhere because it’s fans STILL don’t know how to behave?”
Jamil adds: “We best see every white player in the entire country condemn the racist behavior of their fans.
“Send your love to @bukayosaka87 @marcusrashford @sanchooo10 and @sterling7 to try to drown out the bullshit they are facing for just being Black.
“This is mortifying.”
Of course, Dr Mos-Shogbamimu and Jamil are not the only high-profile names to speak out; a number of others have given the players their support after the game, while Instagram has been flooded with positive comments in an effort to drown out the racist abuse.
“There is absolutely no place for racism in football or anywhere else,” writes London mayor Sadiq Khan, who has called on social media companies to do more to hold to account those responsible for sending online abuse.
“Those responsible for the disgusting online abuse we have seen must be held accountable – and social media companies need to act immediately to remove and prevent this hate.”
A tweet from TV presenter Sue Perkins says: “Congrats to Italy, and thanks to an England team who showed the world that this country can be inclusive and caring.”
And activist Gina Martin, meanwhile, writes: “I’m not reposting but white England fans are beating up Italian fans outside the stadium and spewing racism at Black fans.
“So many white toxic male football fans can’t metabolise their disappointment into anything but hate and violence. Other men better fucking step in.”
Elsewhere, author Stephanie Yeboah writes: “Can hear the men in the pub next door throwing out racist insults already. I’m THIS close to boiling a pot of expired pasta and throwing it out the window onto them. Just for that extra Jenny sea choir.”
“This is why we take the knee. Praying for a better future – worthy of the values, beauty and respect exemplified by every single England player,” tweets shadow lord chancellor David Lammy.
And women’s rights activist and campaigner Seyi Akiwowo has urged followers: “Trolling players is not part of the game, they are not true fans. If you see online hate, report it to the platform. Report it to the police. Report it to their employers.”
You can report a hate incident or crime on the True Vision website, or by calling the police on 101.
Please visit the Stop Hate UK for more information on hate crime now.