England’s Bukayo Saka Urges Facebook and Twitter to Crack Down on Abuse

After Bukayo Saka missed a penalty kick for England’s national team on Sunday in the final of the European soccer championship, he and several teammates were overwhelmed by a wave of racist abuse.

On Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, people posted monkey emojis and racist epithets to insult Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, all Black players who missed their penalty kicks in the shootout against rival Italy. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Prince William and others swiftly decried the ugly eruption of racist commentary, especially against a team that had come to symbolize England’s racial diversity.

On Thursday, Saka, 19, spoke out for the first time since Sunday’s final. In a statement on Twitter, he condemned the online bigotry he and his fellow players have faced. After saying how disappointed and sorry he was with the loss, Saka took aim at Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, urging them to do more to crack down on the abuse.

“To the social media platforms Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that me, Marcus and Jadon have received this week,” Saka wrote. “I knew instantly the kind of hate that I was about to receive and that is a sad reality that your powerful platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.”

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