Bukayo Saka has shared a post responding to the online abuse aimed at him and his teammates, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, after England's loss in the final of the Euros 2020.
In his first statement since the match, Saka started off by thanking fans for their support during the tournament. “I have stayed away from social media for a few days to spend time with my family and reflect on the last few weeks,” he wrote. “This message won’t do it justice how grateful I am for all the love that I have received, and I feel that I need to thank everyone who has supported me,” he continued.
The 19-year-old Arsenal star went on to apologise to fans for missing the penalty goal, promising that he and his teammates would continue to “give everything we’ve got to make sure this generation knows how it feels to win.”
“There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was with the result and my penalty. I really believed we would win this for you,” he added. “My reaction post-match said it all, I was hurting so much and I felt like I’d let you all and my England family down, but I can promise you this. I will not let that moment or the negativity that I’ve received this week break me.”
After the final match, Saka, Rashford and Sancho all faced racist abuse online, receiving an overwhelming 12,500 abusive messages on Twitter alone. In Saka’s statement, he urged social media platforms to do better in preventing racist abuse online.
“To the social media platforms - Instagram, Twitter, Facebook - I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive hateful and hurtful messages that me Marcus and Jadon have received this week,” he wrote.
He went on to state that he knew “instantly” the kind of hate he was about to receive via social media when he missed the penalty, and called it “a sad reality” that social media platforms are not doing enough to stop racist abuse.
Sancho’s statement following the match shared a similar tone. Speaking about the abuse, he said, “As a society, we need to do better, and hold these people accountable.”
Rashford also shared his own moving message with the public, stating he will “never apologise for who I am or where I came from.”