England stars Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho have been the targets of racist abuse on social media in the wake of the Three Lions' defeat to Italy in the final of Euro 2020 on Sunday.
The trio took and missed England's final three penalties to seal Italy's triumph, which caused the flood of racist messages their way:
Henry Winter @henrywinter
Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford being racially abused on social media. And this is why <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ENG?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ENG</a> players will continue to take a knee. Also, Twitter and Instagram have to be quicker and stronger to stop these hate crimes on their platforms.
According to The Athletic, some of the messages included the monkey emoji. Monkey chants have historically been an issue for the sport around the world.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Rashford was one of the most visible footballers in the world through his charitable endeavors. He received an MBE for his efforts. According to The Athletic, a mural of Rashford "has been vandalised with graffiti after England lost."
The Athletic added that "Greater Manchester Police have launched an investigation after the 'racially aggravated damage' was reported to officers in the early hours of Monday morning."
The Twitter account for England's national teams wrote, "We're disgusted that some of our squad – who have given everything for the shirt this summer – have been subjected to discriminatory abuse online after tonight’s game."
The Football Association also said it "strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and is appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media."
England manager Gareth Southgate's approach to the penalty shootout will likely be analyzed for some time.
Rashford and Sancho entered the match in the 120th minute, with Southgate clearly planning for the shootout. Neither player had much time to get comfortable, though, before they were both thrust into the spotlight. Likewise, having 19-year-old Saka, who had just eight senior caps to his name, take such a pivotal penalty was a bit of a head-scratcher.
What followed on social media was largely predictable and disappointing at the same time:
Throughout the tournament, Saka's exuberance symbolized an energetic England squad that didn't seem to be carrying the burden of past disappointments at major tournaments.
Sancho was somewhat anonymous at Euro 2020 but has been one of the best Englishmen abroad for the past few seasons.
Together, they could potentially be key players in the national team for years to come.