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UK PM Boris Johnson under fire over response to racial abuse of footballers

DW, 14 Jul 2021
The British government has denied allegations of hypocrisy after three Black English footballers were targeted with online abuse. Racist social media posts were directed at Marcus Rashford, Jaydon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after their missed penalties helped Italy win Sunday's Euro 2020 final. But players and campaigners have called out the government for fueling the abuse after comments about players taking the knee.
After the hate came the love. A mural of England player Marcus Rashford is now covered in well wishes, after it was defaced following England's Euro 2020 final loss to Italy.
These are the true England fans. One girl leaving a note that read "Keep up the good work Marcus Rashford" – support echoed by many.
Rashford was one of three Black England players – alongside Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka – abused online for missing penalties in the final's shootout.
And UK prime minister Boris Johnson also joined in the condemnation. But the UK government – happy to be associated with the team's success – has faced calls of hypocrisy.
England defender Tyrone Mings had a message for home secretary Priti Patel. Writing on Twitter:
"You don't get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as 'Gesture Politics' and then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we're campaigning against happens."
That after Patel had publicly criticized players for taking a knee.
Anti-racism campaigners say the government must bear some responsibility for how fans behave.
In the meantime, England's players will continue to fight racism -- both on and off the pitch.

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