July 14 – England striker Marcus Rashford, one of the three black players racially abused on social media following the penalty shootout loss to Italy, says he is “overwhelmed” and “lost for words” after hundreds of messages of support were placed on a mural depicting the England striker.
The mural was vandalised by racist bigots in the wake of England’s Euro 2020 final defeat – but it was then repaired and hundreds of messages of solidarity were posted on it.
Scores of people at the site of the mural also took the knee in protest against racial injustice and in solidarity with the Manchester United forward.
Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho, who all missed in Sunday’s penalty shootout, were targeted with racist abuse on social media after the game.
A crowdfunder set up to pay for repairs and keep the mural – reportedly commissioned in recognition of Rashford’s work to tackle child food poverty – had raised more than £27,000 by Tuesday morning.
Rashford has used his experiences of hunger as a child to campaign for better provision for children to be given free food. Referring to that campaign, one message said: “Thank you for showing us kindness and helping those in need.”
The mural has become a symbol of the fight against the bigotry that blighted England’s run to the final of Euro 2020. In a tweet, Rashford responded: “The messages I have received today have been positively overwhelming and seeing the response in Withington had me on the verge of tears. The communities that always wrapped their arms around me continue to hold me up. I’ll be back stronger. We’ll be back stronger.”
On the playing side, Rashford could be out for the first two months of the new season after decided to have surgery on a shoulder injury.
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org