'Sinking feeling' - people of colour on racist abuse of England players

England's Kalvin Phillips, left, and Luke Shaw, right, comfort teammate Bukayo Saka after he failed

Bukayo Saka is consoled by his England team-mates after his penalty miss.  - Credit: AP

The racist abuse directed at the England team after the loss to Italy in Sunday's Euro 2020 final has overshadowed the achievements, people in Norfolk have said.

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis spoke at a Westminster Hall Debate and addressed the dental care crisis

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis - Credit: Anthony Kelly

Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South said: "The first thing to say is the team were brilliant, and it wasn't just the football, they gave us so much more than football.

Mr Lewis said it would have been the "icing on the cake to win" but for many, the England team gave people "a vision of what our country can look like."

He said he found it "disconcerting and frankly an insult" for politicians such as the Prime Minister, Priti Patel and others in the leading political party who "have promoted politics of division" and "failed to support" players taking the knee and "supported the booing" were now turning around to condemn those behind the racism.

Mr Lewis said: "The people giving racist abuse now, before and during the match take their lead from politicians who have promoted divisive discourse in this country, Oliver Dowden, Priti Patel and others should be hanging their heads in shame.

"I think a lot of people see it for what it is, hypocrisy of the worst type."

"Marcus Rashford missed a penalty but he shouted for hundreds of thousands of children who are going to be receiving free school meals during the height of the pandemic. What this team achieved off the pitch supports what they achieved on it."

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Mr Lewis said the England team had shown the country a "different way of doing things" and it was that which had engaged people.

He said for those like himself who were "often wary of nationalism and patriotism" the England team had represented a country people "could be proud of for the right reasons" because they had pulled together and achieved a lot.

Karlene Kerr, team vicar at St Faith’s Church at Gaywood in King’s Lynn, speaks about her role as bi

Karlene Kerr, acting rector and team vicar at St Faith’s Church at Gaywood, King’s Lynn who is also the Bishop's advisor for UK minority ethnic affairs. Picture: Karlene Kerr - Credit: Archant

The Rev Karlene Kerr, Bishop's advisor for UK minority ethnic affairs, based in King's Lynn said seeing the racist abuse experienced by the England team had been upsetting and left her angry.

She said: "It's very upsetting, it's heartbreaking. I'm heartbroken for the players that they are having to experience this. We always hope that things are getting better, the Football Association and media like the BBC, they are a lot with 'Kick It Out' to stop racist abuse but when it happens again you get a sinking feeling of now here we go again."

Ms Kerr said for those who said racism did not exist, the abuse experienced by the England players showed that it did and that it did not take much to bring it to the surface.

"Everyone, regardless of their race, gender, makes a mistake, we all do, we all buckle under pressure but the difference is when it's a black person who does that their colour comes into it.

"For the people who are doing the abuse, this happens because they are black, not because they are human and young and operating under pressure - this has happened because they are black.

"It's something I have experienced when I make a mistake, it's not seen as me being human, I have made a mistake because I'm black, because it means that I'm not competent and that's what is going on, that's where that racist abuse is coming from. And that's what hurts and what I can identify with," she said.

She added she was worried about the England players who had been targeted by racist abuse and hoped they were getting the support that they needed from friends and family in the wake of Sunday's match.

Sam Jude, who has retured to work at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital after recovering from Covid-19 Pi

Sam Jude, Feltwell ward manager and co-chair of the BAME network at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn. Picture: QEH - Credit: Archant

Samuel Jude, Feltwell ward manager and co-chair of the BAME network at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, said: "There’s no place for this kind of behaviour in today’s society. At QEH we believe that celebrating and valuing diversity enables us to provide the best care for our patients and their families.

"Racism and discrimination is unacceptable at all levels and it’s disappointing that an evening filled with so many moments to be proud of has been overshadowed.

"These incidents remind us that there is work to be done, and the importance of the continued work we are doing at QEH to create an inclusive culture for our patients, their families and our staff. ”