After England lost to Italy on penalties in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley last night a number of players were targetted with racial slurs. Marcus Rashford, Jordan Sancho and Bukayo Saka were all bombarded with horrific comments and the use of monkey emojis on Instagram and Twitter.
The three players had all missed their penalties in another heartbreaking end to an international competition for the England team.
Condemning the racist attacks, the Prime Minister wrote on social media this morning: “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.”
Mr Johnson watched on at Wembley last night as England played in their first final of an international tournament in 55 years.
Gareth Southgate’s men took an early lead in the game before conceding in the 67th minute to take the final to extra time and penalties.
Immediately after the match the Prime Minister said the team has “done the nation proud” despite the outcome.
He said: “That was a heartbreaking result to end #Euro2020 but Gareth Southgate and his England squad played like heroes.
“They have done the nation proud and deserve great credit.”
But at the same time as the Prime Minister and the majority of fans across the country paid tribute to the team following the devastating defeat a minority launched into a tirade of abuse.
The three England players’ who missed penalties saw their social media pages flooded with vile comments.
Saka has since deactivated his Instagram account due to the large number of abhorrent messages.
As well as Mr Johnson, a number of other high profile politicians have spoken out in disgust abuse.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote on Twitter: “There is absolutely no place for racism in football or anywhere else.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Labour’s David Lammy, who has long campaigned against racial injustice, said: “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.”
Before Euro 2020 matches the England team have taken a knee as a symbolic gesture against racism.
The gesture has divided fans, with some criticising the demonstration for its links to the political organisation Black Lives Matter.
The FA also released a statement last night criticising the racial attacks.
A spokesman for the organisation said: “The FA strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and is appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media.
“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.
“We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore Government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real life consequences.
“Social media companies need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making their platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse.”
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