Marcus Rashford Speaks Out After His Mural Was Vandalized Following England's Euro 2020 Defeat
Marcus Rashford is addressing the racist hate he's endured after a mural in his hometown was vandalized following Team England's loss in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday.
The mural — located in the suburb of Withington in Manchester, England — was defaced with "racially aggravated" graffiti some time before 2:50 a.m. on Monday, according to the Great Manchester Police.
In a message shared to the Rashford's social media accounts, the 23-year-old soccer player, whose missed penalty kick at the match contributed to securing Italy's win, said that he can "take critique" of how he performed, but will "never apologise for who I am and where I came from."
"I don't even know where to start and I don't even know how to put into words how I'm feeling at this exact time. I've had a difficult season, I think that's been clear for everyone to see and I probably went into that final with a lack of confidence," he began in his statement.
"I've always backed myself for a penalty but something didn't feel quite right. During the long run up I was saving myself a bit of time and unfortunately the result was not what I wanted," Rashford continued. "I felt as though I had let my teammates down. I felt as if I'd let everyone down."
Explaining that the missed goal has been "playing in my head over and over since I struck the ball," Rashford wrote, "All I can say is sorry. I wish it had of gone differently."
Rashford went on to speak out about his vandalized mural, which had been partially covered up with a tarp after it was defaced.
"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 the pitch," Rashford wrote. "I can take critique of my performance all day long, my penalty was not good enough, it should have gone in but I will never apologise for who I am and where I came from."
In his post, Rashford also shared hand-written letters of support left at the mural by fans in the wake of the incident.
"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 alongside an image of the mural, now covered in positive notes.
Thanking fans for their support, he added, "The communities that always wrapped their arms around me continue to hold me up. I'm Marcus Rashford, 23 year old, black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester. If I have nothing else I have that."
"For all the kind messages, thank you," Rashford concluded. "I'll be back stronger. We'll be back stronger."
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An investigation into the vandalism is ongoing, according to Greater Manchester Police.
"This is disgraceful behaviour and will absolutely not be tolerated," GMP Chief Superintendent Paul Savill said in news release. "Greater Manchester prides itself on being made up from a number of diverse communities and hate crime in any form is completely unacceptable and not welcome here in our city."
Rashford and his teammates Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho had all missed their penalty kicks at Sunday's match, and were met with a deluge of online attacks thereafter.
Prince William, who is President of the Football Association that governs the game in England, condemned the attacks in a statement on Monday, saying, "I am sickened by the racist abuse aimed at England players after last night's match"
"It is totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour," he added. "It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable."