Sacha Baron Cohen and David Beckham are among the stars rallying behind England’s black soccer stars following the national team’s Euro 2020 final defeat.
Missed penalties by Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka at the end of Sunday’s game in London cost England their first major tournament victory since 1966 and some fans turned on the trio, hurling racist abuse at them.
England manager Gareth Southgate, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and the Duke of Cambridge have all condemned the trolls targeting the three stars online, and now the team’s former captain, Beckham, has slammed those taking aim at the players.
“I know how much this will hurt but you have the pride and thanks of your country for what you have achieved and you have done it the right way,” he wrote on Instagram. “Anyone who doesn’t support and respect each and every one of you today isn’t an England fan. Win or lose we stand with you… Hold those heads high.”
Meanwhile, Borat star Baron Cohen, who has campaigned against hateful content on social media, has called on Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey to act.
“Hey Mark Zuckerberg & Jack Dorsey – Facebook/Instagram and Twitter are spreading racist attacks on these black athletes,” he writes. “Online racism leads to real-world hate crimes. It’s time to rid racism from your platforms once and for all!”
And Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, who has long campaigned against racism, said he was “worried” about what was being written about England’s black players.
“The pressure to deliver is felt by every sportsperson but when you are a minority representing your country this is a layered experience,” he explained. “Success would feel like a double victory, but a miss feels like a two-fold failure when its (sic) compounded with racist abuse. I so badly wanted that win like all of you but for me it was for much more than winning the euros, it was a much bigger picture.
“However, the disgusting behaviour by the few, shows how much work that still needs to be done (sic). I hope that this opens a conversation around acceptance. We must work towards a society that doesn’t require black players to prove their value or place in society only through victory. Ultimately everyone on the England team should be so proud of their achievement and how they represented us.”
England captain Harry Kane also defended his teammates, calling them, “Three lads who were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up & take a pen when the stakes were high”.
“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.”
Meanwhile, supermodel Naomi Campbell found the racism “disgusting” and Spider-Man star Tom Holland called the actions of the racists “despicable”.
“You are not my countrymen,” he wrote. “These players deserve nothing but respect. They’ve given us so much in such a difficult time and they should be held up like kings not kicked while they are down. To Saka, Rashford and Sancho, you had the bravery to step up. You guys are three lions and all decent Englishmen are proud of you and the whole team and staff and we will support you again come the World Cup.”
Little Mix also shared a statement on Instagram, below a photo of the three stars and teammate Raheem Sterling, which read: “If you do not stand up against racism, you are also part of the problem. What these young men have had to deal with is beyond disgraceful. We stand with you Kings.”
Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh shared the same picture and added the caption: “These young, brave men played with dignity for their country and deserve nothing but love. Let’s lift them up and drown out all the abhorrent racist hate.”
– Cover Media