A number of A-list celebrities and public figures have been showing their support for the England squad after team members were flooded with racist comments since Sunday night’s Euro 2020 final.
Following England’s defeat against Italy – which marked the first time the Three Lions have made it to the final of a major tournament in 55 years – Black team members including Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were met with a wave of racist remarks online.
Writing on Instagram on Monday afternoon, F1 driver Hamilton said the racism faced by various England players was evidence of “how much work that still needs to be done”.
“The pressure to deliver is felt by every sportsperson but when you are a minority representing your country this is a layered experience,” Hamilton wrote.
“Success would feel like a double victory, but a miss feels like a two-fold failure when its compounded with racist abuse.”
He added: “We must work towards a society that doesn’t require Black players to prove their value or place in society only through victory. Ultimately everyone on the England team should be so proud of their achievement and how they represented us.”
Little Mix singer Leigh-Anne Pinnock – who recently spoke of the racism she’s been confronted with throughout her 10 years in the music industry – later said: “You can live here but be quiet. You can work here but not all of you. You can speak at the table but not too loud. You can play for us but you can’t lose.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Black British Experience.”
Other stars to lend the team their support include footballers David Beckham and Rio Ferdinand, supermodel Naomi Campbell and broadcaster Clara Amfo.
“For some of them to be abused is unforgivable really,” Southgate said (via The Guardian). “I know a lot has come from abroad. People who track those things have been able to explain that. But not all of it.
“It’s just not what we stand for. We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody and so that togetherness has to continue. We heal together as a team now, and we’re there for them, and I know that 99% of the public will be as well.”
Referring specifically to Rashford, Saka and Sancho, Harry Kane tweeted: “Three lads who were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up & take a pen when the stakes were high. They deserve support & backing not the vile racist abuse they’ve had since last night.”
“If you abuse anyone on social media you’re not an England fan and we don’t want you,” the team captain added.
Meanwhile, statements from prime minister Boris Johnson and home secretary Priti Patel in defence of the team have been met with a more mixed response online, due to both politicians having refused to condemn England supporters who booed the team for taking the knee last month.
Responding directly to Patel, England defender Tyrone Mings tweeted on Monday evening: “You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘gesture politics’ and then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens.”
A Downing Street spokesperson has said they “utterly reject” any accusations of hypocrisy levelled against the PM.