Prince William has issued a statement denouncing racist comments directed toward England’s soccer players in the wake of the team’s loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday.
“I am sickened by the racist abuse aimed at England players after last night’s match,” the Duke of Cambridge wrote Monday on Twitter.
“It is totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour. It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable. W.”
England lost to Italy after the game came down to penalty kicks following a 1-1 tie in regulation and scoreless overtime. William, who is president of the country’s Football Association, was on hand for the match, along with the Duchess of Cambridge and their son George.
Hours after the game, England team members Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who all took penalty kicks that did not end up in the back of the net, were the targets of racist attacks on social media, while a mural of Rashford, who is also celebrated for his campaign to feed underprivileged kids, was vandalized.
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The attacks were denounced by many fans and other high-profile figures.
"Shame on you," British Prime Minster Boris Johnson said.
"It's just not what we stand for," England's team manager, Gareth Southgate, said.
Rashford thanked his fans on Twitter.
“The messages I’ve received today have been positively overwhelming,” he wrote in a lengthy statement.
Twitter and Facebook, which owns Instagram, said they removed thousands of posts containing racist abuse aimed at the players, but the social media platforms continue to receive criticism for not acting quickly enough.
The attacks against the players come months after Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, accused an unnamed member of the royal family of racism in an interview earlier this year with Oprah Winfrey while talking about son Archie.
The former Meghan Markle is half Black and said there were "concerns and conversations" among the royal family about "how dark his skin might be when he's born.”
There's no indication William was connected to that incident, and after the interview, the prince told reporters the royals are "very much not a racist family.”
Meghan's name became a trending topic on social media Monday after William's statement about the racist abuse aimed at England's soccer players, with some users accusing William of double standards for not publicly coming to his sister-in-law's defense.