England ace Rashford ‘close to tears’ at Black Lives Matter protest by mural – as cops ‘arrest 50yo football coach who abused him’
Marcus Rashford has described his emotions after a protest full of BLM placards was held at a Manchester mural of the England star and social justice campaigner, coming just hours after a man was arrested over abuse sent to him.
The striking mural showing the face of the Manchester United youngster, which was vandalized within minutes of his penalty miss against Italy in the final of Euro 2020 on Sunday, was the focus for a 'Stand up to Racism' demonstration on Tuesday.
Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho – the trio of unfortunate England players to have missed in the shoot-out, all of whom are black – have endured a torrent of predictable racist abuse in the aftermath of the Wembley heartbreak that saw them narrowly miss out on glory following a 1-1 draw against the Azzurri.
Now the tribute on the wall of a cafe in Withington, where Rashford grew up, has been repainted by French-born artist Akse, who originally created it, and visited by crowds keen to show their support.
A 50-year-old from Powick, in the west of England, was also announced to have been detained shortly beforehand on suspicion of inciting racial hatred in connection with a tweet sent to Rashford.
The 23-year-old Premier League regular admitted that the response from his childhood community, which descended on the mural in a display that was dominated by signs highlighting the Black Lives Matter campaign, "had me on the verge of tears".
"The communities that always wrapped their arms around me continue to hold me up," he said.
"I'm Marcus Rashford: 23-year-old black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester. If I have nothing else, I have that."
Black Lives Matter protests have been a point of considerable contention before and throughout England's campaign, starting when coach Gareth Southgate and his players vowed to continue kneeling in support of the initiative before matches despite boos being heard from the crowd when it was performed and high-profile voices of opposition being raised.
On Monday, Three Lions defender Tyrone Mings hit back at UK Home Secretary Priti Patel – who had previously backed fans who booed the gesture – after she said she was "disgusted" by the abuse England's players had received.
"You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labeling our anti-racism message as ‘gesture politics’ and then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against happens," he blasted.
West Mercia Police have not named the subject arrested over the abuse sent to Rashford, although several reports have identified him as a youth football coach.
You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens. https://t.co/fdTKHsxTB2— Tyrone Mings (@OfficialTM_3) July 12, 2021
He is said to have told Rashford that the public honor he was given for services to vulnerable children in the UK during the pandemic last October "needs burning, you fake," adding: "Pack them bags and get to your own country.”
Inspector Pete Nightingale, from Worcester police station, said: “We encourage people to make these reports and are pleased with the speed at which we have been able to deal with this incident.
“We continue to work with the local football community and have links with the local clubs to ensure that this behaviour is dealt with appropriately.”Also on rt.com UEFA opens investigation into England supporters after Wembley crowd violence mars Euro 2020 final