Marcus Rashford was one of three players to miss a penalty for England in the 3-2 shootout loss at Wembley
England and Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford apologized for his miss on penalties but said he will “never apologize for who I am” after being one of three players to join after England lost the Euro 2020 against Italy were racially insulted.
Rashford missed their spot kicks along with Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka.
All three were targeted on social media after the game.
“I felt like I was letting everyone down” Rashford wrote in a statement.
The 23-year-old added: “I can take criticism of my performance all day, my punishment wasn’t good enough, it should have gone in but I’ll never apologize for who I am or where I come from.
“I haven’t felt a prouder moment than carrying these three lions on my chest and watching my family cheer me on in a crowd of tens of thousands.”
A mural in Rashford’s hometown of Withington was defaced after his penalty shoot-out before being covered in messages of support.
On Monday, England chief Gareth Southgate said the post-defeat racial abuse was “unforgivable” while Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Football Association also condemned it.
The Metropolitan Police are investigating the abuse and saying “it will not be tolerated” while the UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU) has also opened an investigation.
Messages of support were posted on a Marcus Rashford mural in his hometown after it was initially defaced
The full statement by Marcus Rashford:
“I don’t even know where to start and I don’t even know how to put into words how I am feeling right now.
“I’ve had a difficult season, I think everyone knew that and I probably went into this final with a lack of confidence. I’ve always advocated a penalty but something didn’t feel right.”
“In the long run I saved myself a little time and unfortunately the result wasn’t what I wanted. I felt like I had let my teammates down. I felt like I had let everyone down. A penalty was all I asked to contribute for the team. I can shoot penalties in my sleep, so why not this?
“It has been going on in my head over and over since I hit the ball and there is probably no word to describe how it feels. Final. 55 years old. 1 penalty. History. I can only say , Sorry. I wish it could have been different.
“Although I continue to apologize, I want to call out to my teammates. This summer was one of the best camps I’ve ever been to and you all played your part in it.
“A brotherhood has emerged that is unbreakable. Your success is my success. Your failures are mine.
“I’ve become a sport where I expected to read things that were written about myself.
“Whether it’s because of the color of my skin, where I grew up or, most recently, how I spend my time off the field.
“I can take criticism of my performance all day, my punishment wasn’t good enough, it should have gone in, but I’ll never apologize for who I am or where I’m from. I haven’t felt a prouder moment than these three to wear.” Lions on my chest and seeing my family cheer me on in a crowd of tens of thousands.
“I’ve dreamed of days like this. The news I got today was overwhelming and the response at Withington brought me close to tears. The churches that have always embraced me continue to keep me going.”
“I’m Marcus Rashford, a 23-year-old black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester. If I have nothing else, I have this. Thank you for all the lovely news. I’ll be stronger back. We’ll be stronger back.”
Racial abuse of English players is “unforgivable” – Southgate
Data highlight levels of abuse
The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) says disclosure of data to Channel 4 News after the Euro 2020 final showed that over 850,000 tweets were analyzed throughout the tournament, showing:
• Flagged as Potentially Abusive in 1913, specifically against Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling.
• 167 posts were classified as “high risk” abuse.
The PFA said that although a number of these tweets were deleted, Twitter’s accounts were not permanently banned.
“Our preliminary analysis suggests that the level of abuse identified in connection with the Euro 2020 final, directed primarily against Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling, was higher than the rest of the tournament combined “Added the PFA.
Twitter said it removed more than 1,000 posts in the past 24 hours and banned a number of accounts for violating its rules.
Facebook said it recently announced tougher measures on its Instagram platform, including permanently deleting accounts that repeatedly send abusive direct messages.
“You’re not England fans and we don’t want you”
England captain Harry Kane has told those behind the racist abuse of Rashford, Sancho and Saka: “You are not an England fan and we do not want you.”
The Tottenham striker added on twitter: “They deserve support and assistance, not the heinous racial abuse they have witnessed since last night.
“Three guys who have been brilliant all summer had the courage to stand up and take a pen when the stake was on.
“If you abuse someone on social media, you’re not an England fan and we don’t want you.”
Defense attorney Tyrone Mings also went to Twitter to share his pride in reaching the finals, but added, “Wake up today to see my brothers being racially abused for being brave enough to put themselves in the shoes Helping this country is something that gets sick, but doesn’t surprise me. “
He went on to Criticism of Interior Minister Priti Patel last month called players who go on their knees against racism “gesture politics”.
England midfielder Kalvin Phillips said he was “disgusted” by the racial slurs against his teammates.
“Absolutely disgusted with the unnecessary racist abuse I’ve seen against my teammates online,” said the Leeds player on Twitter.
“Nothing but love and respect for my brothers for their courage BukayoSaka87, Sanchooo10 and MarcusRashford, hold your head up. We will come back stronger.”
Support for England stars
Tennis star Naomi Osaka
Manchester United and France midfielder Paul Pogba
Free meals and book clubs – Rashford’s work off the field
Last October, Rashford received an MBE in Services for Vulnerable Children in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic.
He successfully campaigned for the government to allow around 1.3 million children to claim free school lunch vouchers during the English summer vacation
Rashford also started a book club to encourage disadvantaged children to read.
He has previously highlighted incidents where he has been the target of racist abuse, said he had received “at least 70 racial slurs” on social media following Manchester United’s Europa League loss to Villarreal in May.