Seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton took to social media on Monday to condemn the racial abuse suffered by three Black players following England's defeat against Italy in the Euro 2020 final.
The players — Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka — who helped carry England throughout the Euro tournament, missed their penalty shots in the final shootout against Italy's squadra azzurra.
The defeat sparked a wave of online abuse against the unfortunate trio that was denounced by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, London's Mayor Sadiq Khan, and the Football Association.
The manager of the England team, Gareth Southgate, called the abuse "unforgivable," and London's Metropolitan Police has opened an investigation into the matter.
Hamilton, who ramped up his fight against social injustice after the murder in the U.S. of George Floyd in May 2020, took to social media to condemn the abuse directed at England's players which he stated showed that more needed to be done to fight racism.
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"Success would feel like a double victory, but a miss feels like a two-fold failure when it's compounded with racist abuse," wrote the Mercedes driver who will compete this week in the British Grand Prix;
"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."
"The racial abuse on social media towards our players after yesterday's game is unacceptable," Hamilton added.
"This sort of ignorance has to be stopped. Tolerance and respect for players of colour should not be conditional. Our humanity should not be conditional."
The wave of abuse on social media was met on Monday morning by a deluge of supportive comments for England's three players, with fans attempting to drown out the racist posts.
Twitter and Facebook have reportedly deleted thousands of racist messages and suspended accounts.
"The abhorrent racist abuse last night has absolutely no place on Twitter," a spokesperson for the company said.