As the “Daily Mail” headlined Monday morning, it ended in tears.
England had to cry again after a heated match over fines. In a few minutes all hope was shattered again. Hope for success in front of your own fans. Hope for an end to the 55-year decline in the title. But also hope for a better England.
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“We were a beacon, we brought people together,” said Gareth Southgate, who was slightly pale in the morning after the losing European Championship final. “The national team stands for everyone and it must continue. We have shown what this country can achieve when we come together.”
Others saw it that way. The young team of Southgate was seen by many as a symbol of a country, its strength lies in its diversity. With its clear message against racism and discrimination, it was seen as the antithesis of the divisive rhetoric of a populist government.
The flood of racism
Many enjoyed the success of this team because they believed they represented the best in England. Somehow it is true.
But anyone who believed that this team could actually unite a divided country was severely disappointed on Sunday evening. Because as soon as they failed to determine the fines against Italy, Marcus Rashford, Jadan Sancho and Bukayo Saga were attacked by a flood of racist insults on social media. The United Nations has shown itself to be divisive again. England showed His ugly face.
Why, to all people, it remains a mystery why Saga scored the last penalty. Experienced players like Jack Graylish or Raheem Sterling have never competed. But Southgate, well aware of the heavy burden of missed penalty kicks, sent in a 19-year-old anyway.
The government condemns racism – for many it is empty words
“Buccaneer has the support of all of us,” Southgate said Monday, while taking full responsibility for the harshly criticized line.
Saga played a fantastic match, and for the first time made himself a world-famous name for his cheerful and fearless creativity. Now his success is obscured by a miss. Now – like Rahim Sterling before him – he must very quickly create a dense skin against racists and cynical cultural militants.
“Yesterday we saw the leadership skills and character we knew from Bukayo. This pride quickly turned tragic due to racist comments against our young player on social networks,” Saga’s Arsenal FC wrote in a statement, promising to support the player “emotionally and practically” against some racist players. This is not the first time we have condemned it. “
Prince William was horrified on Twitter. “I’m not sick of racism against English players after last night’s game,” he wrote. It is completely unacceptable for players to have to endure this horrific behavior. “It must be stopped and everyone involved must be held accountable.”
The government also acted quickly to condemn racism. “These players deserve to be celebrated as heroes and should not be racially abused.” Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote. His Home Minister Priti Patel also wrote about his “outrage” and promised a consistent response from the police.
There is no politics behind the team’s knees
But it sounded like empty words to many ears. After all, Johnson and Patel had completely different voices a few weeks ago. When the same players knelt on their anti-racist knees at the start of the match, politicians did not condemn it. Patel said he did not support the “gesture politics” of kneeling and talked about the “catastrophic consequences” of the Black Lives Matter movement.
There can be no direct connection between such comments and Sunday night’s racist slander, but at least they are in the same world. In a country where the government strongly condemns anti-racism movements, it is not surprising that some are encouraged to attack black players after a football game.
“It’s about leadership, the prime minister has failed this test,” said Labor leader Khair Stormer. Former professional Gary Neville has personally accused Johnson of inciting racism.
“It’s about leadership, the Prime Minister failed that test.”
“The Prime Minister has said that it is not right for the people of the country to encourage soldiers who are trying to promote equality and protect racism,” the TV commentator told Sky News. “It starts at the top.” A Johnson spokesman vehemently denied the allegations.
British Sports Secretary Oliver Dow tweeted, sharing anger over “racist abuse to intimidate warriors”. He declared that he would like to hold social media networks accountable for not spreading such reports.
Instagram owner Facebook stressed in a statement that no one should be subjected to racist insults. “We quickly removed comments and accounts that insulted England footballers last night and will continue to take action against those who violate our rule.”
The English Football Association and the European Football Union UEFA strongly condemned racism on the Internet. London Police announced the investigation. ”Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, called for tolerance and unity.
“Recognizing the rich diversity of cultures that make this country so special and unique in so many ways is at the heart of what we as a nation can be,” said the Queen’s eldest son. London Fourth Division club Leighton Orient has banned the stadium for life for a fan who tweeted racist slurs.
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At the start of the match, Southgate sought to protect its players while building a bridge between its critics and supporters. This is absolutely admirable, and with his quiet, level management style, he was able to really impress many English people.
He has often been told recently that he will do what one wants political leaders to do.
But in the end he is not a politician. He is a football coach. If politicians and society fail to actively fight racism and hatred, the football coach will ultimately have no chance. Whether you win or not, it can really only be in tears.