Lewis Hamilton's incredible act after Euro 2020 racism 'disgrace'

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Seen here, F1 world champ Lewis Hamilton and shattered England football star Marcus Rashford.
Lewis Hamilton has hit out at the racist abuse against England's players in a powerful message on social media. Pic: Getty

Reigning Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has taken to social media with a powerful message about stamping out racism, after several England star's were racially abused in the wake of their Euro 2020 final defeat.

The English went down to Italy 3-2 on penalties in the final at Wembley, with young stars Marcus Rashford, Jason Sancho and Bukayo Saka all unsuccessful with their spot-kicks in a tense shootout.

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All three players were then subjected to a storm of online racist abuse after their defeat in the final of Euro 2020, drawing widespread condemnation from the national captain, manager, religious leaders, politicians and even the FA's president Prince William - who labelled the abuse "abhorrent" and "unacceptable".

But perhaps the most moving words came from British motorsport legend Hamilton, who summed up his own feelings on the disgusting saga that has unfolded.

“So much was running through my mind as [I] watched the final moments of the match last night,” Hamilton wrote on Instagram.

“On one hand I was so proud of how far we have come ...to be in the final and with such a diverse team is a huge achievement we should all be proud of but as the players stepped up to take the penalties I was worried.

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“The pressure to deliver is felt by every sportsperson but when you are a minority representing your country this is a layered experience. Success would feel like a double victory, but a miss feels like a two-fold failure when its compounded with racist abuse.

“I so badly wanted that win like all of you but for me it was for much more than winning the [Euros], it was a much bigger picture. However, the disgusting behaviour by the few, shows how much work that still needs to be done. I hope that this opens a conversation around acceptance.

“We must work towards a society that doesn’t require Black players to prove their value or place in society only through victory. Ultimately everyone on the England team should be so proud of their achievement and how they represented us.”

He also added: “Please call out those you see posting hatred online. Challenge them to see the humanity in everyone regardless of their colour.

“Super proud of how far the England team were able to go. Super proud of Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and the entire team.”

Seen here, Bukayo Saka is consoled after his miss in the penalty shootout saw Italy claim victory.
Bukayo Saka was left shattered after his decisive spot-kick was saved. Pic: Getty

England captain Harry Kane stood by his players and issued a stern warning to fans that any racism towards his teammates will not be tolerated.

"Three lads who were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up & take a pen when the stakes were high," England captain Harry Kane wrote on Twitter.

"They deserve support & backing not the vile racist abuse they’ve had since last night. If you abuse anyone on social media you’re not an @England fan and we don’t want you."

England manager Gareth Southgate called the abuse "unforgivable".

"I know a lot of that has come from abroad, that people who track those things have been able to explain that, but not all of it," he told a news conference.

England star thanks supporters 

Rashford himself wrote in a social media post late on Monday that he was thankful to his team mates for the support they extended to him and that he was overwhelmed by the messages of support towards him.

"I can take critique of my performance all day long... but I will never apologise for who I am and where I came from," Rashford said in his statement.

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The England team have earned praise for their stand against racism, while a number of players have also campaigned on other social causes. The multi-racial make-up of the squad had been hailed as reflecting a more diverse modern Britain.

The team had highlighted the issue of racism by taking the knee before all their matches - a protest made by American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick and followed by the Black Lives Matter movement last year - saying it was a simple show of solidarity against racial discrimination.

However, some fans have booed the gesture, with critics viewing it as a politicisation of sport and expression of sympathy with far-left politics.

"This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media," Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote on Twitter. 

"Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves."

England's Football Association (FA) said fans who exhibited such "disgusting behaviour" were not welcome and European football's governing body UEFA echoed its call for the strongest possible punishments.

London Police said officers were aware of the offensive and racist comments, and would take action. 

A mural of Rashford, who had campaigned for poor children to be given more support during the pandemic, was also covered in abuse.

A lawmaker in Prime Minister Johnson's Conservative Party also apologised after a private message in which she suggested Rashford should have spent more time perfecting his game than "playing politics" became public.

with agencies

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