Police investigate racist abuse of three England players

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LONDON (AP) — British police opened investigations Monday into the racist abuse of three Black players who failed to score penalties in England’s shootout loss to Italy in the European Championship final.

The Metropolitan Police condemned the “unacceptable” abuse of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, and said they will be investigating the “offensive and racist” social media posts published soon after Italy won Sunday’s shootout 3-2 following a 1-1 draw. A mural of Rashford on the wall of a cafe in south Manchester was also defaced with graffiti in the wake of the match.

The racist abuse, which was condemned as “unforgivable” by England coach Gareth Southgate, has led to calls for social media companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, to do more in hunting down the perpetrators of the abuse.


All three players targeted are part of a young England squad that has been widely praised for its diversity and social conscience. Rashford, for one, has been at the forefront of a campaign against child poverty, which convinced the British government to restore free lunches for thousands of poor children amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“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,” Southgate said Monday.


The abuse was widely condemned, with Prince William, the president of the English Football Association, saying he was “sickened” by the racism aimed at the England players.

“It is totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour,” he wrote on Twitter. “It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday told those who directed racist abuse at some of the players that he hoped “you will crawl back under the rock from which you emerged.”



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