British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday condemned the harassment of racist social media targeting English football players after losing a bit in the Euro 2020 final.
Investigations on comments made against Black England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who missed goal shots during a penalty shoot-out with Italy following Sunday’s 1-1 draw are ongoing as police said.
“This England team deserves to be praised as heroes, not racist abuse on social media,” Johnson said on Twitter. “Those involved in these horrific atrocities should be ashamed of themselves.”
The England team has highlighted the issue of racism throughout the tournament, kneeling before all their matches. However, some fans scoffed at the sign, with critics seeing it as an inappropriate politics of the game and an expression of sympathy for left politics.
Social media feeds from the players also showed great levels of fan support and appreciation for the competition.
“We are disgusted that some of our squad was subjected to racist harassment online after tonight’s game,” the England team tweeted.
The Football Association of England said “disgusting behavior” was unpopular with fans.
“We will do everything possible to support the players involved when we want the strongest possible punishment for anyone involved,” the FA said in a statement.
London police said officers were aware of the offensive and racist views and would take action.
“This will not be tolerated and will be investigated,” the squad said on Twitter.
The problem of online player abuse prompted the British football authorities to temporarily boycott social media platforms to highlight the problem, a position that has joined other sports media. Technology companies have repeatedly been criticized for not doing enough to fix the problem.
In May, the British government announced plans to pass a new law that could fine social media companies up to 10% of their sales or £ 18 million ($ 25 million) if they fail. Failure to eliminate online harassment is a hate crime.