Sports UK News

Euro 2020: Racially targeted British footballer Marcus Rashford says ‘will never apologise for who I am’

London, July 13

Marcus Rashford, one of the Black players in the England soccer team who has been subjected to a storm of online racist abuse after their defeat in the final of Euro 2020, on Tuesday said that he was open to a critique of his performance but “will never apologise for who I am and where I came from.”

“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,” he said in a note posted on Twitter.

Full text of Rashford’s note:

“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. “

Marcus Rashford, 23, Jadon Sancho, 21, and Bukayo Saka, 19, were the targets of the abuse after they missed spot-kicks in a penalty shootout with Italy which settled Sunday’s final after the game finished as a 1-1 draw.

 

The comments have prompted a police investigation and wide condemnation, although critics accused some ministers of hypocrisy for refusing to support a high-profile anti-racist stance the players had made during the tournament.

The Times newspaper reported that British ministers will tell social media companies to immediately hand over details of those who made online racially abusive comments towards the players.

“Three lads who were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up & take a pen when the stakes were high,” England captain Harry Kane wrote on Twitter.

“They deserve support & backing not the vile racist abuse they’ve had since last night. If you abuse anyone on social media you’re not an @England fan and we don’t want you.” England manager Gareth Southgate called the abuse “unforgivable”.

“I know a lot of that has come from abroad, that people who track those things have been able to explain that, but not all of it,” he told a news conference.