Anti-Blackness is a global phenomenon that rears its ugly head whenever white people are displeased and negroes are involved. That’s why three Black soccer players became victims of racial abuse after they missed penalty kicks while playing for England against Italy in the European Championship shootout on Sunday. Now, the English Football Association is pledging to “stamp discrimination out of the game,” but if you know anything about bigoted and disgruntled sports fans, you know that’s an uphill battle.
From the Associated Press:
Bukayo Saka, at 19 one of the youngest players on the England squad, missed the penalty that gave the title to Italy and denied England its first international trophy since the 1966 World Cup.
It was England’s third straight failure from the penalty spot in the shootout, with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho also missing.
The FA said in a statement it was “appalled” by the abuse of the three players. The team had taken a knee before games at the Euros to signal its support for an end to racial inequality, and the young, multi-ethnic squad won the hearts of the soccer-mad country before the shootout failure brought out all-too-familiar messages of hate.
And just like that, the real issue emerges.
From Colin Kaepernick to Gwen Berry and all the way back to Tommie Smith and John Carlos, we know that when Black athletes engage in silent protest against racism while white people are trying to enjoy their precious game while remaining at peace in their privileged obliviousness, those athletes will always be met with as much scorn as they are adoration—and more often than not, things are much heavier on the scorn side.
So maybe Saka, Rashford and Sancho were bombarded with anti-Black racism because they missed penalty kicks, and maybe it was because they dared to interrupt the sports’ experiences of racists (or both), but either way, the EFA expressed in a statement that it’s having none of it.
“We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible,” the organization said. “We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real-life consequences.”
According to AP, London’s Metropolitan Police announced that it is investigating the online harassment the three players have received.