Nation unites behind England stars who suffered vile racist abuse over penalty misses

THE nation has united behind three England stars who suffered racist abuse over their Euros penalty misses.

Marcus Rashford, 21, Jadon Sancho, 20, and Bukayo Saka, 19, received vile online abuse after missing penalties in Sunday’s Euro final shootout — despite having been brave enough to take them.

Bukayo Saka is consoled by Gareth Southgate following defeat at the Euros[/caption]
Marcus Rashford was one of three players who faced a torrent of hate on social media[/caption]

Furious Boris Johnson told racist trolls hounding the three young England aces to “crawl back under your rock”.

The PM led howls of outrage as police pledged to bring the racist abusers to justice.

He said: “To those who have been directing racist abuse at some of the players, I say shame on you.

“I hope you will crawl back under the rock from which you emerged.”

He hailed the England players as “heroes” and said he had been “sad and rueful” but “filled with pride” like millions of people when he woke up yesterday.

Mr Johnson also thanked the Three Lions’ manager Gareth Southgate “for the best campaign by any England team in any tournament that I can remember.”


He added: “They made history. They lifted our spirits — and they brought joy to this country and I know they will continue to do so.”

Prince William — who attended the final at Wembley with wife Kate and Prince George, added his voice to the chorus of disgust.

He tweeted: “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.”

Southgate, 50, called the abuse his players faced “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.

We have shown the power our country has when it does come together and has that energy and positivity together

Gareth Southgate

“We have shown the power our country has when it does come together and has that energy and positivity together.”

England captain Harry Kane, 27, backed the youngsters who failed to convert their penalties.

The Spurs striker tweeted: “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 and 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.”

Arsenal rising star Saka, 19, touched the nation’s hearts as he wept after missing the last penalty in the shootout against Italy. But moments later monkey and banana emojis began flooding into his Instagram account.

Rashford, 23, and Sancho, 21, both faced similar online abuse.

Bukayo Saka touched the nation’s hearts as he wept after missing the last penalty[/caption]
Jadon Sancho faced similar online abuse[/caption]
Messages of support on plastic that covers offensive graffiti on the vandalised mural of Marcus Rashford[/caption]

A mural of Manchester United star Rashford in his hometown of Withington was defaced with racist obscenities in the early hours.

Later, residents flocked to the wall to leave messages of support for their local hero and love-heart stickers on the vandalised artwork.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said of online giants: “They can no longer ignore some of the appalling, vile, racist, violent and hateful content that appear on their platforms.

“We have been clear that if they do not stamp this out, we will take action against them in the Online Safety Bill.”

But last night England defender Tyrone Mings blasted Ms Patel who had previously accused members of the England team of being overly political, and refused to condemn people who booed the team when they took a knee.

Mings, 28, tweeted: “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.”


London’s Met Police vowed to go after the trolls. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: “We’ve launched a post-event investigation and will actively pursue and investigate offenders and criminal offences.”

The UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU) will co-ordinate efforts to identify the hatemongers who could be charged under the Malicious Communications Act — punishable with up to 12 months in jail.

Alternatively, the could be prosecuted for racially-aggravated harassment, which has a two-year term. Cheshire Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on football policing, said: “Investigations are under way.”

He said reports of online racist abuse would be assessed by the UKFPU and perpetrators identified with the help of social media firms.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Met’s rank and file Police Federation branch, said: “Every one of the trolls needs to be tracked down, named and shamed and prosecuted.”

TV pundit and England legend Rio Ferdinand urged Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to take action.

He tweeted: “You can bet ya last pound they would have sung the Raheem Sterling song almost bursting the veins in their bodies doing so.

“But England lose and that joy and sense of being united immediately evaporates and our black players become the target.”

He added: “Social media companies please can we come together in creating a way to protect people on your platforms please…. Our young heroes need your attention too!”

Sun’s lion mascot roars his defiance

The Sun’s lion mascot Harry Mane had his head held high after England lost by a whisker.

Brave Harry watched at a Rome bar and later enjoyed banter with 1,000 Italian fans in a square.

Paul Edwards
Harry Mane had his head held high after England lost by a whisker[/caption]

Subjected to boos and chanting, he jokingly gave them a thumbs down.

Harry said: “I’m gutted but very proud. The players are heroes.

“I’ve been with hundreds of Italian fans but it’s been very friendly.

“It’s heartbreaking — but we all know the World Cup isn’t far away.”

Expat Simon Robinson, 44, who lives in Rome said: “I’m sure Harry Mane gave us that fantastic extra edge but it wasn’t to be.”

Fellow expat Trevor Mills, 60, added: “Harry, you’ve done so well. Our lads did so well. There’s so much to be proud of.”

I feared for all 3

By ex-West Ham goalie Shaka Hislop

AS they took their penalties, I feared for Marcus, Jadon and Bukayo.

I was worried that they might be scapegoated if they failed to score because they are black. The abuse they later received was awful.

Over the last 25 years we’ve seen steady progress on racial equality but there needs to be much stronger and meaningful action between government and social media firms.

The three who volunteered to take a penalty knew the racist abuse that would come their way if they missed.

That shows courage and commitment to the country.

They must be shown that level of respect in return.

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