Three Black players endured a torrent of abuse on social media and were taunted with racist emojis and phrases after they missed their penalty kicks for England in the EURO 2020 final on Sunday.
Marcus Rashford, 23, Jadon Sancho, 21, and Bukayo Saka, 19, were the targets of the abuse for missing spot-kicks, which eventually earned Italy the championship after the game finished as a 1-1 draw.
While most comments on social media were positive towards the British team, the three players started receiving racist comments immediately following the game, Voice of America reported.
The attacks have been vehemently condemned by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Prince William, England’s Football Association, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan who rejected the racist attitude of fans.
Prince William also issued a strong statement Monday saying he was “sickened” by racist abuse aimed at Black English players.
The Football Association, British soccer’s governing organization, also issued a statement condemning all forms of racism and standing by its players.
“The FA strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and is appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media,” the statement said.
“We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team. We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.”
The England team also released a statement condemning the abuse directed at its players on social media.
“We’re disgusted that some of our squad — who have given everything for the shirt this summer — have been subjected to discriminatory abuse online after tonight’s game,” the team tweeted.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan also condemned the fans’ racist attitude, calling on social media companies to remove such content from their platforms.
According to Reuters, a Twitter spokesperson said they had removed more than 1,000 tweets and permanently suspended a number of accounts, saying the “abhorrent racist abuse” had no place on the platform.