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Team England during the championship final on July 11. Photo: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

The racist online abuse directed at the England soccer team's three Black players after Sunday's European Championship final against Italy has invited widespread condemnation from various sectors of the public.

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

The big picture: Various prominent public figures have spoken out against racist posts targeting the three footballers, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho.

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the attacks Monday morning, saying at a briefing that those responsible should "crawl back under the rock from which you emerged."
  • England team manager Gareth Southgate said the abuse directed at the three players was "unforgivable," the BBC reports.
  • Prince William tweeted that he was "sickened by the racist abuse," adding that it is "totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour."

Of note: Rashford, 23, posted a statement online sharing his thoughts on the penalty kick and paying tribute to his teammates, family, community.

  • "I can take critique of my performance all day long, my penalty was not good enough, it should have gone in but I will never apologize for who I am and where I come from," Rashford wrote.
  • "For all the kind messages, thank you," he added. "I'll be back stronger. We'll be back stronger."

The moment has proven to be a reckoning for political figures who did not support Team England's taking the knee before games to protest racism.

  • Labour Party leader Keir Starmer called the abuse "absolutely appalling" and said Johnson should have acted more strongly to condemn fans who booed players for taking a knee before games.
  • Former England defender Gary Neville highlighted Monday Johnson's history of making racist and xenophobic remarks in a newspaper column — in which he described Black people as "piccaninnies" with "watermelon smiles." Addressing racism "starts at the very top," Neville said.
  • Interior minister Priti Patel had previously dismissed the team's kneeling as "gesture politics" but on Monday denounced the abuse against the players.
  • In response, England defender Tyrone Mings wrote: "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."

State of play: London's Metropolitan Police said late Sunday it would investigate into "offensive and racist" online posts.

  • Twitter and Facebook responded Monday to criticism that they failed to act against the racist posts, saying they had removed posts and suspended accounts that had violated their policies.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Rashford and Neville.

Go deeper

Oct 13, 2021 - Sports

NHL announces all but four players have been vaccinated against COVID-19

A vaccinated section of fans at a New York Islanders game. Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The NHL announced in a press release on Wednesday that all but four players are vaccinated.

The big picture: With only four out of more than 700 players unvaccinated this season, the NHL has a 99% vaccination rate, according to NPR.

2 hours ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.

Former Georgetown tennis coach pleads guilty to accepting admissions bribes

Gordon Ernst (left) former head tennis coach at Georgetown, outside a courthouse in Boston in 2019. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A former Georgetown University head tennis coach has pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribery charges related to facilitating the admission of prospective applicants.

Why it matters: Gordon Ernst solicited and accepted bribes from William Singer, ringleader of the cheating scheme uncovered by Operation Varsity Blues, and families in exchange for helping prospective applicants get into Georgetown as student athletes, according to the Justice Department.

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