An England footballer has accused UK Home Secretary Priti Patel of “pretending” to be disgusted by racist abuse after she condemned online abuse against football players following England’s defeat in the Euro 2020 final.
England’s campaign ended in agony after they lost on penalties to Italy on Sunday. Three England players who missed penalties – 23-year-old Marcus Rashford, 21-year-old Jadon Sancho and 19-year-old Bukayo Saka – were subject to racist abuse over social media after the loss.
Patel criticised the abuse on Twitter. “I am disgusted that @England players who have given so much for our country this summer have been subject to vile racist abuse on social media,” she wrote.
“It has no place in our country and I back the police to hold those responsible accountable.”
Patel had previously disparaged the England team for making the anti-racism statement of taking the knee before matches. She said fans have a right to boo players who took the knee, saying, “I just don't support people participating in that type of gesture politics.”
Mings, who has played for England since 2019, was quick to point out the apparent hypocrisy. “You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens,” he wrote on Twitter last night.
The tweet has been retweeted over 150,000 times and liked over 450,000 times.
There has been a huge backlash against the racist abuse received by players. Politicians have criticised it and there have been calls for social media platforms to improve their moderation of racist comments. Over the last 24 hours, local residents in Manchester covered a mural of Rashford in positive messages after it was vandalised with offensive graffiti following the match.