Local residents are covering a mural in Manchester of footballer Marcus Rashford with positive messages after it was defaced shortly after England’s Euro 2020 final loss on Sunday night.
The painting, by street artist Akse, was damaged last night after England lost on penalties to Italy. Rashford, 23, who plays for Manchester United, missed a penalty kick after having come on as a substitute in the dying moments of extra time.
The mural, painted on the side of a cafe in the Manchester suburb of Withington, depicts Rashford with the words, “Take pride in knowing your struggle will play the biggest role in your purpose.” It was vandalised with offensive graffiti after Rashford’s penalty miss and England’s loss.
But locals have begun to place positive messages over the mural on a day where Black football players have been targeted by horrific racism following yesterday’s final. Some have posted red hearts that read “hero” and “role model” while others have stuck messages up such as “be kind” and “wonderful human.”
Rashford was one of three players who missed their penalty kick last night, alongside 21-year-old Jadon Sancho and 19-year-old Bukayo Saka. All players have been subject to racist abuse over social media after the loss, garnering criticism from politicians and calls for social media platforms to improve their moderation of racism.
Last year, Rashford garnered widespread support for his political campaigning on child hunger after he successfully lobbied the government to provide free school meals to children during the holidays.
Following the vandalism, Greater Manchester Police have launched an investigation after they received a report of racially aggravated damage in the early hours of the morning.
Chief Superintendent Paul Savill said: "Hate crime in any form is completely unacceptable and not welcome here in our city."