England football team’s Bukayo Saka became the latest from the team to issue a statement against the racial abuse he and his teammates were subject to after the EURO 2020 final defeat against Italy on Wembley.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Saka were attacked by racist trolls after missing penalties in England’s 3-2 shoot-out defeat by Italy.
Rashford, who came on late in the second period of extra time, apologised for his penalty miss and said “something didn’t feel quite right” when he came to take the kick.
Images on social media showed a mural honouring Rashford in his hometown of Withington had been defaced before locals covered the hateful language with messages of support. He added that he was proud to have worn the England jersey during his side’s first major final appearance in 55 years.
The racist attacks were strongly condemned by the English Football Association whose president, Prince William, said he was “sickened” by the abuse. England’s players made a powerful stand against racism during the tournament, taking a knee before their games including Sunday’s final.
Sancho and Saka also joined Rashford in the last 24 hours to thank for the support they have received while adding they expected to face such abuse after what happened in the final.
Here are the statements issued Instagram by the three players:
I have stayed away from social media for a few days to spend time with my family and reflect on the last few weeks. This message won’t do it justice how grateful I am for all the love that I have received, and I feel that I need to thank everyone who has supported me.
It was an honour to be part of an @England squad that leads by example, they are brothers for life and I’m grateful for everything that I have learnt from every one of the players and staff who worked so hard. To help that team reach our first final in 55 years, seeing my family in the crowd, knowing what they’ve given up to help me get there, that meant everything to me.
There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was with the result and my penalty. I really believed we would win this for you. I’m sorry that we couldn’t bring it home for you this year, but I promise you that we will give everything we’ve got to make sure this generation knows how it feels to win.
My reaction post match said it all, I was hurting so much and I felt like I’d let you all and my England family down, but I can promise you this.. I will not let that moment or the negativity that I’ve received this week break me.
For those who have campaigned on my behalf and sent me heartfelt letters, wished me and my family well - I’m so thankful. This is what football should be about. Passion, people of all races, genders, religions and backgrounds coming together with one shared joy of the rollercoaster of football.
To the social media platforms @instagram, @twitter, @facebook I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that me Marcus and Jadon have received this week. I knew instantly the kind of hate that I was about to receive and that is a sad reality that your powerful platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.
There is no place for racism or hate of any kind in football or in any area of society and to the majority of people coming together to call out the people sending these messages, by taking action and reporting these comments to the police and by driving out the hate by being kind to one another, we will win.
Love always wins.
I’ve had a couple of days to reflect on Sunday’s final and still feel a mix of emotions. I would like to say sorry to all my teammates, coaching staff and most of all the fans who I let down. This is by far the worst feeling I’ve felt in my career. It’s hard to even put into words the real feeling, but there were so many positives to take away from this tournament though the defeat will hurt for a long time.
My first thought before going into any football match is always “How can I help my team?, how am I going to assist? how am I going to score? how am I going to create chances?” And that’s exactly what I wanted to do with that penalty, help the team. I was ready and confident to take it, these are the moment’s you dream of as a kid, it is why I play football. These are the pressured situations you want to be under as a footballer. I’ve scored penalties before at club level, I’ve practiced them countless times for both club and country so I picked my corner but it just wasn’t meant to be this time.
We all had the same ambitions and objectives. We wanted to bring the trophy home.
This has been one of the most enjoyable camps I’ve been part of in my career so far, the togetherness of the team has been unmatched, a real family on and off the pitch.
I’m not going pretend that I didn’t see the racial abuse that me and my brothers Marcus and Bukayo received after the game, but sadly it’s nothing new. As a society we need to do better, and hold these people accountable.
Hate will never win. To all the young people who have received similar abuse, hold your heads up high and keep chasing the dream. I am proud of this England team and how we have united the whole nation in what has been a difficult 18 months for so many people. Much as we wanted to win the tournament, we will build and learn from this experience going forward. I want to say a massive thank you for all the positive messages and love and support that far outweighed the negative. It’s been an honour as always representing England and wearing the Three Lions shirt, and I have no doubt we’ll be back even stronger! Stay safe & see you soon.
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. 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 teammates 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. 1 penalty. History. All I can say is sorry. I wish it had of gone differently. Whilst I continue to say sorry I want to shoutout my teammates. 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. 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. I can take critique of my performance all day long, my penalty was not good enough, it should have gone in but I will never apologise for who I am and where I came from.
I’ve felt no prouder moment than 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.
For all the kind messages, thank you. I’ll be back stronger. We’ll be back stronger.