Soccer·Bring It In

Rashford, Sancho, Saka became scapegoats for England fans after Euro Cup loss to Italy

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who are all Black, have been dealing with racist attacks ever since they missed their penalty kicks in the 2020 Euro Finals.

Bring It In panel discusses racial abuse 3 Black English players have faced

England's forward Marcus Rashford, one of three Black players receiving racial attacks online, reacts after he fails to score in the penalty shootout during the UEFA EURO 2020 final football match between Italy and England at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. (John Sibley/Getty Images)

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka have been dealing with racist attacks ever since they missed their penalty kicks in the 2020 Euro Finals.

England men's soccer team was in the finals of a major tournament for the first time since 1966. Early on, it appeared the country would be celebrating a win as they scored just two minutes in. However, Italy responded with a late goal and at the end of extra time they were tied, which forced penalty kicks to determine the winner.

England started out going 2-2, but the next three players, Rashford, Sancho, and Saka, who are all Black, missed their kicks and Italy ended up winning in penalties. After the result, English fans began sending racist messages to those three, despite the team being widely praised for its diversity and social conscience. 

On the latest episode of CBC Sports video series Bring It In, Morgan Campbell is joined by Meghan McPeak and Dave Zirin to discuss the racist comments fans made to the three players. For Zirin, he says it's not surprising. 

WATCH | Bring It In discusses racial abuse after Euro 2020:

Online racial abuse in Euro Cup aftermath

3 months ago
12:05
Host Morgan Campbell is joined by Meghan McPeak and Dave Zirin, to discuss the online racial abuse directed at English soccer players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka, after the 2020 Euro Cup final. 12:05

"The old expression is, for Black soccer players, is you are English when you win, you are Black when you lose. In this country, it's almost like a renunciation of your very citizenship if you don't win," Zirin said.  "I would like to say it's one of those things where you say it's shocking but not surprising. Anytime you see an outbreak of racism like we saw the other night, there is a shock value of it. To see a mural of Marcus Rashford vandalized is unbelievable to me."

"I was going to call it provisional, it's there until you mess up and then at that point the mainstream calls themselves revoking your membership in this club. Like you, I'm not surprised," Campbell added.

After the players began getting attacked by fans, star player Harry Kane stepped up to praise his three teammates for their brilliant play throughout the season.

England's manager, Gareth Southgate, then came to their defence saying it was his fault. But McPeak believes the manager should've done something sooner, not after the racist comments began to pile up.

"Credit to the manager for coming out and taking the heat. It's too little too late in my opinion as a former Black athlete. You should have had my back in that moment," McPeak said. "If you're going to come out after the fact when all these racist things start to happen because we lost that you made the wrong decision, you should have known as the manager of our nation's team, in that moment that you are making the wrong decision."

"England [fans] showed their asses. They showed their asses in this moment, you showed your asses before the match even started with your ignorance and stupidity trying to bum rush security to get into the stadium because you didn't have tickets," McPeak continued.

"Why aren't you putting it on the rest of the team for even being tied going into penalty kicks. Why weren't you up 2-1 in this game then? If your team is so good and you are going to put this solely on those three players why weren't you up 2-1 and this wouldn't have been a situation?"

Since the backlash, several teammates have spoke up and praised Rashford, Sancho and Saka. However, for Campbell, he believes sport continues to bring the worst out of people and it shouldn't be surprising to see that the Black athletes are the scapegoats.

"For as much as we talk about sport uniting us, sport brings the worst out of a lot of people," Campbell said. "If these people have an opportunity to scapegoat some Black people, even though these are the same people that brought England to the final, same group of guys, but if you have an excuse to scapegoat them this is what folks are going to do."

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