If being on the losing side of the recently concluded European Championship wasn’t bad enough, imagine waking up the next morning to you social media accounts filled with racists messages for keyboard cowards who call themselves “fans.”
Unfortunately that is the situation Manchester United players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho (soon to be) and Arsenals Bukayo Saka faced shortly after England’s loss to Italy in the Euro Finals.
To make matters worse a mural in Rashford hometown of Manchester was vandalized shortly after the loss in yet another cowardly act. As of this morning, the mural has been fixed by a local Manchester street artist, Akse.
The Marcus Rashford is being repaired by street artist Akse pic.twitter.com/TgglVMBEzN— Steve Allen (@SteveAllenPics) July 13, 2021
Since the end of Sunday’s game, Instagram and Twitter have been flooded with racist abuse directed at the three players. Twitter removed more than 1,000 tweets and permanently suspended a number of accounts for violating its rules against harassment and hateful content.
“We have proactively engaged and continue to collaborate with our partners across the football community to identify ways to tackle this issue collectively and will continue to play our part in curbing this unacceptable behavior—both online and offline,” a spokesperson said in an email released to The Verge.
A Facebook spokesperson said the company didn’t have numbers to share, but the platform said it “quickly removed comments and accounts directing abuse at England’s footballers last night and we’ll continue to take action against those that break our rules.”
Thankfully there is a positive spin to this article and that come in the form of the worldwide support Rashford and the other players have received since these message have come to light.
Rashford recently posted a very personal message on his Twitter account noting that he was “moved to tears” over the support he has received.
Rashford’s messages to the true fans:
“I don’t even know where to start and I don’t even know how to put into words how I’m feeling at this exact time,” Rashford wrote. “I’ve had a difficult season, I think that’s been clear for everyone to see and I probably went into that final with a lack of confidence. I’ve always backed myself for a penalty but something didn’t feel quite right.
“During the long run up I was saving myself a bit of time and unfortunately the result was not what I wanted. I felt as though I had let my team-mates down. I felt as if I’d let everyone down. A penalty was all I’d been asked to contribute for the team. I can score penalties in my sleep so why not that one? It’s been playing in my head over and over since I struck the ball and there’s probably not a word to quite describe how it feels. Final. 55 years. One penalty. History.
“All I can say is sorry. I wish it had of [sic] gone differently. Whilst I continue to say sorry I want to shout out my team-mates. This summer has been one of the best camps I’ve experienced and you’ve all played a role in that. A brotherhood has been built that is unbreakable. Your success is my success. Your failures are mine.”
He then went on to thank the well-wishers for their support, though reiterated he would never apologise for “who I am and where I came from.”
“I’ve grown into a sport where I expect to read things written about myself. Whether it be the colour of my skin, where I grew up, or, most recently, how I decide to spend my time off the pitch,” Rashford continued. “I’ve felt no prouder momentthan wearing those three lions on my chest and seeing my family cheer me on in a crowd of 10s of thousands.
“I dreamt of days like this. The messages I’ve received today have been positively overwhelming and seeing the response in Withington had me on the verge of tears. The communities that always wrapped their arms around me continue to hold me up. I’m Marcus Rashford, 23 year old, black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester. If I have nothing else I have that.”
Here are some examples of the support Rashford has been receiving:
We're all behind you, @MarcusRashford.— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 12, 2021
As a player. As a person. As an inspiration to our club and our supporters. As a representation of hope that there is plenty more good than bad in the world ❤️#MUFC #ManUtd #Rashford pic.twitter.com/qPRxrKQXEz
All of Manchester and all of England is proud of you, Marcus— Manchester City (@ManCity) July 12, 2021
UEFA strongly condemns the disgusting racist abuse directed at several England players on social media after the EURO final, which has no place in football or society. We stand by the players and the English FA’s call for the strongest possible punishments.— UEFA (@UEFA) July 12, 2021
I am sickened by the racist abuse aimed at England players after last night’s match.— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) July 12, 2021
It is totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour.
It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable. W
❤️️ 'My Prime Minister'— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) July 13, 2021
❤️️ 'You make great choices'
❤️️ 'Kindest person in the world'
❤️️ 'You make Manchester proud'
Messages of support are still flooding in for England's Marcus Rashford after he suffered racist abuse following defeat to Italy.pic.twitter.com/0ANmp9NRcq