POC players for the English National Team endured racist comments after their narrow loss against Italy on Sunday.
Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka have been the subject of hate speech and trolls after they missed their penalty shots, costing England the match.
In light of the wave of online abuse against the players, many important figures in the UK including Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince William condemned the hateful rhetoric.
Prince William—who attended the match—tweeted his disgust at the racist comments.
I am sickened by the racist abuse aimed at England players after last night’s match. It is totally unacceptable t… https://t.co/cy72gi0eML— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) 1626081469.0
William has been consistent in his condemnation of racist abuse against soccer players. He spoke out against similar comments back in January.
At that time, Rashford was receiving racist comments due to a 0-0 draw against the Arsenal team.
In response to those comments, William wrote:
"Racist abuse—whether on the pitch, in the stands, or on social media—is despicable and it must stop now."
"We all have a responsibility to create an environment where such abuse is not tolerated, and those who choose to spread hate and division are held accountable for their actions. That responsibility extends to the platforms where so much of this activity now takes place."
Now, his current tweet is pushing others to also support the soccer players.
@KensingtonRoyal Our star boy Saka was a man at 19 to step up the take a penalty kick. He's a hero and more man tha… https://t.co/xh1rzRd5N3— Millymoo Be a Catherine 🥰 (@Millymoo Be a Catherine 🥰) 1626081909.0
We now need to make a stand to all these racists once and for all. All social media platforms need to stop this imm… https://t.co/FaNW1klZEs— Lisa Anderson (@Lisa Anderson) 1626094433.0
@KensingtonRoyal The behaviour of a section of England fans is embarrassing to our nation on a regular basis, and t… https://t.co/QLyf6vE79G— Lindsey Northern Lass (@Lindsey Northern Lass) 1626083611.0
However, the tweets from William rang a little hollow for some.
After his sister-in-law Duchess Meghan Markle experienced sexist and racist abuse from the press and others, William remained silent. Markle and husband Prince Harry spoke out against some members of the royal family's treatment in an interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this year.
Prince Harry said of his family:
"There have been many opportunities for my family to show some kind of support. And yet no one from my family ever said anything over those three years. And that hurts."
In the time since, the royal family has been under scrutiny for their treatment of Markle and her first child.
And commenters online haven't forgotten.
Following Meghan Markle’s journey in the UK enlightened how fundamentally racist England is. The English sent the… https://t.co/Lwl6mECvjW— yuckteeth avocat (@yuckteeth avocat) 1626085237.0
Oh, cool! Now do one for Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. Your literal sister-in-law. https://t.co/9fMbZiKBkg— Noelle Devoe (@Noelle Devoe) 1626099336.0
You asked if Archie was gonna be a darkie… https://t.co/UqzhiVBBSU— Rae Sanni (@Rae Sanni) 1626102485.0
@KensingtonRoyal I appreciate the statement; I do hope you start to see how your brother and especially sister-in-l… https://t.co/hy2TKSoaTu— Daniel Mason (@Daniel Mason) 1626096124.0
@KensingtonRoyal You’re defending footballers now but couldn’t defend Archie, your own nephew? Make it make sense. https://t.co/zO2dmEXurg— Posh Spice of Joburg (@Posh Spice of Joburg) 1626124751.0
English singer/songwriter Billy Bragg also said the incident pointed to a wider problem with racism in the UK.
Boris Johnson experienced similar push back after he tried to speak out about the racist abuse Rashford and the others were receiving after remaining silent in the past.
Johnson and Rashford have been at odds as Rashford used his celebrity to speak out against poverty and racial injustice in the UK.
In 2020, when Rashford received racial abuse and threats for taking a knee before his matches, Johnson's spokesman said the Prime Minister is "more focused on action rather than gestures."