Ever since England’s heartbreaking loss to Italy in the 2020 European Championship final on penalties, the brunt of the nation fell on three unfortunate footballers.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were the unlucky trio who missed from the spot as the Azzurri won the EURO 2020 final at Wembley, as their misses triggered intense racial abuse directed towards people of colour – people were beaten up and stabbed outside the stadium following the game.
The trio were racially abused online, and a Marcus Rashford mural in Manchester was defaced and sprayed with discriminatory abuse after the match–a sad sight to see after the Black Lives Matter movement was promoted with players taking the knee before matches for more than a year.
"For some of them to be abused is unforgivable."— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) July 12, 2021
England Manager Gareth Southgate has condemned the racist abuse Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka have received after the team was defeated by Italy in the Euro 2020 final, adding: "It's just not what we stand for." pic.twitter.com/AyPvnldgjk
The Manchester United footballer has done a lot for the community over the past couple of years, but it seemed like one ill-fated miss from the spot threw all of that out of the window.
But the dawn after the night of the storm is always a better one, and so it was–when it was seen that Manchester United fans had redecorated the mural with notes of appreciation for the 23-year-old.
Back home for a few days. Here is the Marcus Rashford mural. Lots of mentions for Sancho and Saka too, I hope they all know that this is how the vast, vast majority of the country feels. pic.twitter.com/FuKR25TYkH— Sam (@SibsMUFC) July 12, 2021
The redecoration of the mural initially started off with fans covering up the abusive language sprayed on the mural, but with time the entire mural was filled with notes of thanks for the footballer who was brave enough to shoulder the responsibility of the nation at a massive stage–and for already being a role model for thousands of children all across the country.
The outpouring of support didn’t stop there as Akse, the original street artist behind the mural, resprayed his art following its vandalism.
It was a heartwarming gesture that was acknowledged by Rashford when he tweeted about the miss from the spot and the racial backlash that he received for that.
Apart from his thoughts on the situation, Rashford also tweeted certain notes of appreciation that he received–along with a picture of the redecorated mural.
The mural reads “Take pride in knowing that your struggle will play the biggest role in your purpose”, a statement that truly mirrors Rashford’s rise to the top of the English game–and amongst the hearts of children who idolize him for his service to the community.