Jul 12, 2021 - Sports

Boris Johnson condemns racist attacks aimed at Black England players

Team England looks on during the penalty shoot out during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final
Team England looks on during the penalty shoot out during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final between Italy and England at Wembley Stadium. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday condemned the racist online abuse directed at three Black players after England's European Championship final loss, saying at a briefing that those responsible should "crawl back under the rock from which you emerged."

Catch up quick: Italy defeated England in a dramatic 3-2 penalty shootout Sunday night, but the three Black players who missed penalty kicks were subjected to racist attacks on social media after the game.

What they're saying: "Shame on you and I hope you’ll crawl back under the rock from which you emerged," Johnson said of those taking aim at the players, adding that the team played like "heroes."

  • England manager Gareth Southgate said the abuse directed at the three players — Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka was "unforgivable," the BBC reports.
  • Labour Party leader Keir Starmer called the abuse "absolutely appalling," but said Johnson had "failed the test of leadership" by declining to condemn fans who booed players for taking a knee before games.
  • "The prime minister failed to call that out and the actions and inactions of leaders have consequences, so I'm afraid the prime minister's words today ring hollow," Starmer said.

State of play: Twitter and Facebook responded Monday to criticism that they failed to act against the racist posts, with both telling CNBC they moved swiftly to take down abuse aimed at the three Black players on Twitter and Instagram.

  • "No one should have to experience racist abuse anywhere, and we don’t want it on Instagram,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC.
  • “We quickly removed comments and accounts directing abuse at England’s footballers last night and we’ll continue to take action against those that break our rules," the spokesperson added.
  • A Twitter spokesperson condemned the "abhorrent racist abuse directed at England players" and told CNBC the company had deleted "over 1,000 Tweets and permanently suspended a number of accounts for violating our rules" in response.
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