Three England players were subjects to racial abuse on Sunday after they missed penalties in the Euro 2020 final against Italy. Among them was Marcus Rashford, whose mural was vandalised with graffiti.
Rashford issued a statement on his Twitter handle in which he wrote that he will “never apologise” for who he is.
“I’m Marcus Rashford, 23-year-old black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester. If I have nothing else I have that,” Rashford wrote.
Rashford apologised for his penalty miss and said “something didn’t feel quite right” when he came to take the kick.
“It’s been playing in my head over and over since I struck the ball and there’s probably not a word to quite describe how it feels. Final. 55 years. 1 penalty. History. All I can say is sorry. I wish it had gone differently,” he wrote.
“I can take critique of my performance all day long, my penalty was not good enough, it should have gone in but I will never apologise for who I am and where I came from,” Rashford added.
He went on to say that he was proud to have worn the England jersey during his side’s first major final appearance in 55 years, and grateful for the “brotherhood” that was created in the England camp.
Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were the other two placyers who were attacked by racist trolls after missing penalties in Sunday’s 3-2 shoot-out defeat by Italy.
Rashford’s England team-mate Tyrone Mings criticised British Home Secretary Priti Patel, saying she had “stoked the fire” by defending those who booed players taking the knee.
England manager Gareth Southgate said the online invective was “unforgivable”.
“Some of it has come from abroad, we have been told this, but some of it is from this country. We have been a beacon of light to bring people together and the national team stands for everybody,” Southgate said.
Rashford has become a hero to many outside football by lobbying the British government to provide free school meals for underprivileged children during the coronavirus pandemic.