After England's devastating loss to Italy in the finals of the UEFA European Championship, three of the team's Black players endured intense, racist abuse on the internet.
The online attacks came primarily in response to the fact that all three players missed their shots in the penalty kicks that decided the game's result.
The verbal attacks on Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka, all under the age of 24 years old, eventually grew so upsetting that Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson even stepped in to scold the racist internet trolls.
As for 23-year-old Marcus Rashford, who just so happens to be a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire following his charity work with vulnerable children throughout the pandemic, he was fortunate enough to receive a swell of support from fans alongside the vitriol.
In a tweet, Rashford explained his side of the story with that penalty kick:
"I don't even know where to start and I don't even know how to put into words how I'm feeling at this exact time."
"I've had a difficult season, I think that's been clear for everyone to see and I probably went into that final with a lack of confidence."
After covering a few specifics of the kick itself, he returned to his emotional reflections.
"I felt as though I had let my teammates down. I felt as if I'd let everyone down. A penalty was all I'd been asked to contribute for the team.
"I can score penalties in my sleep so why not that one? It's been playing in my head over and over since I struck the ball and there's probably not a word to quite describe how it feels.
"Final. 55 years. 1 penalty. History. All I can say is sorry. I wish it had gone differently."
Toward the end of the message, Rashford touched on the abusive comments he had received following the game.
"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 apologise for who I am and where I came from."
Rashford followed his own words with gratitude for the unbelievable outpouring of support he'd received from fans--many of them children who penned letters trying to lift him up.
Simple, powerful comments like, "I hope you're not too sad" and "you are great" abounded in the notes.
Rashford's announcement only encouraged more support from others on Twitter.
At only 23, Rashford likely has a long career ahead of him.
Here's hoping he continues to do great things on and off the field.
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