Prince William, Boris Johnson Condemn “Abhorrent” Wave Of Racism Against England Players After Euros Loss

Several of England’s Black players faced hateful, racist comments following the team’s Euros 2020 loss to Italy Sunday night.

Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford of England stand next to Gareth Southgate, Head Coach of England during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final between Italy and England at Wembley Stadium on July 11, 2021 in London, England. | Getty Images
Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford of England stand next to Gareth Southgate, Head Coach of England during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final between Italy and England at Wembley Stadium on July 11, 2021 in London, England. | Getty Images

Many prominent British organizations and figures including the prime minister are condemning recent racist attacks lodged against England’s Black players after the team was defeated by Italy in the 2020 Euros Sunday.

Italy won the final game after extra time and a shootout at Wembley Stadium in London. England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who are all Black men, missed their penalty shots that could have secured England a win. Shortly after the devastating loss, the three men became the subject of online hate and racist attacks. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted Monday that the team “deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media.”

Prince William, who attended the game with his wife Kate and son Prince George, also put out a statement on Twitter saying he was “sickened” by the racist abuse. 

“It is totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour,” the Duke of Cambridge continued.

England’s Football Association also wrote in a statement saying it was “appalled by the online racism” aimed at the players.

“We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team,” the organization continued.

A mural of Rashford, a Manchester United player who was one of the subjects of online hate after he missed his penalty kick, was vandalized following England’s loss. Rashford has been applauded for his work with charitable organizations that provide free meals to British children. The mural is a picture of Rashford and says “Take pride in knowing that your struggle will play the biggest role in your purpose.” After the artwork was vandalized, other Manchester residents covered up the damaged parts with hearts.

In April, three soccer teams in the UK boycotted all forms of social media for a week in an effort to raise awareness about the racist abuse directed at players of color and pressure social media companies to take action against the harassment. The boycott started with the Swansea City Football Club, and soon after, Birmingham City, along with Rangers Football Club in Glasgow, Scotland took similar action. According to a statement from Swansea City Football Club, chief executive Julian Winter sent a letter to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey urging them to enact “more stringent policing and punishments for those guilty of the appalling and cowardly abuse.”

A Facebook spokesperson told CNBC that it took down any comments and accounts that were directing hateful remarks toward the players on Instagram, while Twitter told the outlet that it had removed more than 1,000 tweets and suspended multiple accounts.

“The abhorrent racist abuse directed at England players last night has absolutely no place on Twitter,” the spokesperson continued.

According to multiple reports, the UK’s Metropolitan Police has launched an investigation into the wave of social media abuse.