My penalty was not good but I will never apologise for who I am: Marcus Rashford on receiving racist abuse

England's Marcus Rashford reacts after failing to score a
Image Source : AP

England’s Marcus Rashford reacts after failing to score a penalty during a shootout at the end of the Euro 2020 soccer championship final match between England and Italy at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, July 11

England striker Marcus Rashford on Tuesday shared a powerful message apologising for missing the penalty during England’s Euro 2020 final loss against Italy at the Wembley Stadium on Sunday, while also responding to the racist abuse he received after the game saying “I will never apologise for who I am.”

Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were the three players who failed to convert from the spot resulting in England defeat in the shootout. After the game, all three were subjected to racial abuse on social media, and act which was condemned by his teammates and many other sporting heroes across the globe. 

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Taking to Twitter, Rashford wrote: “I don’t even know where to start and I don’t even know how to put into words how I am 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. 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.

“I felt as though I had let my team-mates down. I felt as if I’d let everyone down. A penalty was all I’d been asked to contribute for the team. I can score penalties in my sleep, so why not that one? It’s been playing in my head over and over since I struck the ball and there’s probably not a word to quite describe how it feels. Final. 55 years. 1 penalty. History. All I can say is sorry. I wish it had of gone differently.”

Rashford then talked about the “brotherhood” bond he shared with his teammates, calling this campaign and the journey “one of the best camps” he has ever experienced. He said, “Whilst I continue to say sorry I want to shout out my team-mates. This summer has been one of the best camps I’ve experienced and you’ve all played a role in that. A brotherhood has been built that is unbreakable. Your success is my success. Your failures are mine.”

Rashford, whose mural at Withington in Manchester was vandalised shortly after the Euro final loss, promised to bounce back stronger while responding to the racist abuse. “I’ve grown into a sport where I expected 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 said. 

“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. I’ve felt no prouder moment than wearing those three lions on my chest and seeing my family cheer me on in a crowd of 10s of thousands.

“I dreamt of days like this. The messages I’ve received today have been positively overwhelming and seeing the response in Withington had me on the verge of tears. 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. I’ll be back stronger. We’ll be back stronger.”

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