Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka are being inundated with racist messages and posts following a tough loss to Italy.
After Lionel Messi and Italy won the UEFA Euro 2020 championship match against England, racist messages and posts have been lobbied at the latter’s three Black players.
The two teams played to a 1-1 tie, and Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka were among England’s players to participate in a penalty shootout to decide the winner of the match and the overall tournament.
All three missed their shots.
Since the end of Sunday’s game, Instagram and Twitter have been flooded with abhorrent, 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.”
The spokesperson added that the company had encouraged all players to turn on Instagram’s hidden words tool, which prevents abuse or comments from being visible in direct messages. In fact, a report from Vice states that threats against the players themselves were visible, and appearing on white supremacist channels on Telegram, an app which has much looser moderation policies than Twitter or Facebook.
England’s Football Association released a statement Monday, July 12, stating it was “appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media.” Anyone behind the “disgusting” behavior is not welcome as a fan, the FA said, adding it was placing its support behind the players “while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.”
The FA has been encouraging 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 the platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse.”
International football suffers greatly from racist attacks by fans and personnel. Previously, England’s players were booed by fans at Wembley Stadium during the tournament when the players kneeled on the field before matches as an anti-racism gesture.
Both Italy and England’s teams kneeled before the start of Sunday’s match.With no defense coming from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who faced criticism for not supporting the players’ kneeling gesture, his tweet on Monday that the players “deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media,” falls flatly amongst the people.