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Lewis: Racism toward England players a source of national shame

By Amy Woodyatt, CNN

Actor Jason Sudeikis has thrown his support behind English soccer stars who have been the target of racist abuse.

Players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were targeted on social media after they missed penalties in the 3-2 shootout Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

At the premiere event for Season 2 of his Apple TV sitcom “Ted Lasso”, Sudeikis showed his support for Saka, Sancho and Rashford by wearing a black sweatshirt bearing the players’ first names on the front.

Sudeikis co-wrote and stars in the comedy show, which features a small-time football coach who gets hired to coach a professional soccer team in England — despite having no experience in the sport.

The actor scored an Emmy nomination Tuesday for best actor in a comedy series for the show, which debuted on Apple TV+ in August 2020.

“Huge love for Jason Sudeikis’s sweatshirt at tonight’s Ted Lasso Season 2 Premier. Shows that like his character, he truly understands that football in his heart, is all about human goodness,” tweeted Roger Bennett, co-host of the popular NBC TV show and podcast “Men in Blazers.”

Online racist abuse

Before and during the Euros 2020, the England players have knelt before each of their matches in a display of unity in the fight against racism and inequality.

This caused anger among sections of the England fanbase, and some supporters booed as the players knelt.

And following Sunday’s Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy, players were subjected to online racist abuse, which has been described by the team’s manager Gareth Southgate as “unforgivable.”

London’s Metropolitan Police said it was investigating the “unacceptable” social media comments on both Instagram and Twitter, while UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also condemned the racist abuse.

Striker Rashford has continuously highlighted the racist abuse he’s been subjected to throughout his career.

“I’ve grown into a sport where I expect to read things written about myself. Whether it be the colour of my skin, where I grew up, or, most recently, how I decide to spend my time off the pitch,” Rashford posted on Twitter Monday.

Rashford, who missed a penalty kick in the final game, wrote that he could take “critique of my performance all day long, my penalty was not good enough, it should have gone in, but I will never apologize for who I am and where I came from.”

In the hours after England’s defeat by Italy, a mural honoring Rashford was vandalized with graffiti in Manchester, United Kingdom.

The artwork commemorated the Manchester United player’s work to tackle child food poverty. It features the quote: “Take pride in knowing that your struggle will play the biggest role in your purpose.”

On Thursday, Greater Manchester Police said: “While the content of the vandalism is not believed to be of a racial nature, officers are keeping an open mind as to the motive behind defacing the artwork,” and added that it had since been restored.

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN Sport’s Ben Morse contributed reporting.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Sports

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