Marcus Rashford has responded to the racist abuse directed at him and his England teammates, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho, following the Euro 2020 final. In a heartfelt statement posted to Twitter, Rashford apologised for his missed penalty, but said he will “never apologise” for being a “23-year-old black man from Withington and Wythenshawe.”
The footballer started by acknowledging that he had a “difficult season”, before self-analysing his performance leading up to the penalty miss. “All I can say is sorry. I wish it had gone differently,” Rashford wrote. “I’ve grown into a sport where I expect to read things written about myself. Whether it be the colour of my skin, where I grew up, or most recently, how I decide to spend my time off-pitch,” he continued.
“I can take critique of my performance all day long [...] but I will never apologise for who I am and where I came from.”
Following England’s loss at the Euro 2020 final, a mural of Rashford in his hometown was defaced with abusive and racist graffiti. Those words have since been covered with hundreds of messages of support from members of the public, which had Rashford on “the verge of tears”.
“I’ve felt no prouder moment than wearing those three lions on my chest and seeing my family cheer me on [...] The messages I’ve received today have been positively overwhelming and seeing the response in Withington had me on the verge of tears,” he wrote. “The communities that always wrapped their arms around me continue to hold me up.”
Rashford also shared a few messages of support from his young fans in the tweet, including one from 9-year-old Dexter Rosier who wrote about how Rashford’s performance at the final had inspired him to “always be brave”. Another fan, 11-year-old Alfie, reminded Rashford of all “the other wins [he] had this year”, like feeding millions of children in the UK, and bringing the nation together.