‘This hate is the reason why athletes cannot “just be athletes”’
US olympian Gwen Berry has offered her support for three England football players who received a torrent of racist abuse following the team’s loss of the 2020 Euros final.
“Heartbreaking situation! Why am I not surprised! This hate is the reason why athletes cannot ‘just be athletes,’ the American hammer thrower said in a post on Twitter.
She added: “We must stand against these social issues until they no longer affect our lives! Sending my love to Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka and their families.”
The three players missed penalty kicks for England on Sunday in the tense final against Italy and were subject to a host of racist abuse online following the match.
The English Football Association released a statement condemning the treatment of the player’s on Monday saying it was “appalled” by the abuse. “We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible,” they said.
Berry has often used her own platform as an athlete to speak out about systemic racism and inequality in the US, making headlines last month after she turned away on the podium during the national anthem.
During the anthem, the olympian turned away from the flag and held up a t-shirt that said “activist athlete”. She said after the appearance that the moment had been a “set-up” calling it disrespectful.
Across the Atlantic, fans in the UK rushed to offer support to the young England players following the abuse online, alongside officials in the country including Prince William and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.