The Euro Championship did not go England’s way. After two hours of football ended locked in a 1-1 draw, England and Italy squared off in penalty kicks. Italy won after Marcus Rashford hit one off the post, Jadon Sancho’s attempt was stopped, and the final try, taken by 19-year-old Bukayo Saka, was saved by the goalkeeper. Saka collapsed into tears, Italy rejoiced, and the Euros were over.
“It’s Coming Home,” the cheeky English pop song released in 1996 by English comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner with the rock band Lightning seeds, will be put back on mothballs until England gears up for the 2022 World Cup, where the nation and its supporters will dust it off once more to try and win their first international trophy since 1966. The national battle cry of support and love for their team was replaced by reprehensible and vile hatred and racism for the three young Black Englishmen.
Rashford, who has been the target of racial abuse from football fans before, was a spearhead in pressuring the English government to provide free school meals to children from low-income families during the COVID pandemic.
In a statement from The Football Association, English Football’s governing body, they made their stance very clear.
“We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team,” the statement said.
“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.”
This is, sadly, nothing new. Many, including the FA and Prince William, who is the president of the FA, have been calling for the social media platforms to act more quickly and with more strength to prevent this type of hatred from happening, as well as for law enforcement to step in.
“Racist abuse — whether on the pitch, in the stands, or on social media — is despicable and it must stop now. We all have a responsibility to create an environment where such abuse is not tolerated, and those who choose to spread hate and division are held accountable for their actions. That responsibility extends to the platforms where so much of this activity now takes place. I commend all those players, supporters, clubs and organisations who continue to call out and condemn this abuse in the strongest terms,” Prince William posted on Twitter in January.
He echoed the same sentiments again this morning.
The harsh and incomprehensible reality for these players is that when you win, you’re English, but when you lose, you’re Black. It’s sickening and is the very reason why the English side kneeled on the pitch before every match throughout this tournament.
These three young men stood tall and shouldered a massive moment for their country. They fell short. It happens. To turn against them and hurl racist comments at them because the result didn’t go your way is unforgivable. Any and all persons that can be identified by law enforcement who took place in these disgusting acts should be held accountable to the fullest extent. This has to end.