A number of A-list celebrities and public figures have been showing their support for the England squad after team members were flooded with racist comments since Sunday night’s Euro 2020 final.
Following England’s defeat against Italy – which marked the first time the Three Lions have made it to the final of a major tournament in 55 years – Black team members including Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were met with a wave of racist remarks online.
In the wake of this, Lewis Hamilton, David Beckham and Naomi Campbell are among the stars who have shown the players their public support.
Writing on Instagram on Monday afternoon, F1 driver Hamilton said the racism faced by various England players was evidence of “how much work that still needs to be done”.
“The pressure to deliver is felt by every sportsperson but when you are a minority representing your country this is a layered experience,” Hamilton wrote.
“Success would feel like a double victory, but a miss feels like a two-fold failure when its compounded with racist abuse.”
He added: “We must work towards a society that doesn’t require Black players to prove their value or place in society only through victory. Ultimately everyone on the England team should be so proud of their achievement and how they represented us.”
Little Mix singer Leigh-Anne Pinnock – who recently spoke of the racism she’s been confronted with throughout her 10 years in the music industry – later said: “You can live here but be quiet. You can work here but not all of you. You can speak at the table but not too loud. You can play for us but you can’t lose.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Black British Experience.”
Other stars to lend the team their support include footballers David Beckham and Rio Ferdinand, supermodel Naomi Campbell and broadcaster Clara Amfo.
Disgusted at the racist untalented bitter cowards being abusive towards Rashford, Sancho and Saka. Three young men we’re lucky to have on our team. I hope social media/mainstream media platforms as well as ALL WHITE PLAYERS go out of their way to fight this, and protect them.FFS.
— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) July 12, 2021
Hey Mark Zuckerberg & @jack Dorsey -- Facebook and Twitter are spreading racist attacks on these Black athletes.
Online racism leads to real-world hate crimes.
It's time to rid racism from your platforms once and for all!#StopHateForProfitpic.twitter.com/gBINSykRsc
— Sacha Baron Cohen (@SachaBaronCohen) July 12, 2021
So proud of the England players. This isn’t the time to bring them down. This isn’t the time to be racist or single anyone out. England did so well this tournament and I’m really looking forward to how they do in the World Cup.
— LORD KSI (@KSI) July 11, 2021
England coach Gareth Southgate and captain Harry Kane have also spoken out in support of members of the squad who are being met with racist comments.
“For some of them to be abused is unforgivable really,” Southgate said (via The Guardian). “I know a lot has come from abroad. People who track those things have been able to explain that. But not all of it.
“It’s just not what we stand for. We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody and so that togetherness has to continue. We heal together as a team now, and we’re there for them, and I know that 99% of the public will be as well.”
Referring specifically to Rashford, Saka and Sancho, Harry Kane tweeted: “Three lads who were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up & take a pen when the stakes were high. They deserve support & backing not the vile racist abuse they’ve had since last night.”
Three lads who were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up & take a pen when the stakes were high. They deserve support & backing not the vile racist abuse they’ve had since last night. If you abuse anyone on social media you’re not an @England fan and we don’t want you. pic.twitter.com/PgskPAXgxV
— Harry Kane (@HKane) July 12, 2021
“If you abuse anyone on social media you’re not an England fan and we don’t want you,” the team captain added.
Meanwhile, statements from prime minister Boris Johnson and home secretary Priti Patel in defence of the team have been met with a more mixed response online, due to both politicians having refused to condemn England supporters who booed the team for taking the knee last month.
Responding directly to Patel, England defender Tyrone Mings tweeted on Monday evening: “You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘gesture politics’ and then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens.”
A Downing Street spokesperson has said they “utterly reject” any accusations of hypocrisy levelled against the PM.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.