Analysis: Boris Johnson condemns racism but ignores domino effect

It was a predictable result. England lost to a brilliant Italian side on penalties in the cruellest/funniest manner possible, depending on your allegiances.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the UEFA Euro 2020 Final at Wembley Stadium, London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the UEFA Euro 2020 Final at Wembley Stadium, London.

Any sadness felt from an English perspective on the night turned to outright fury waking up to see the three players who missed had all been subjected to a host of racial abuse.

Marcus Rashford, Jaden Sancho and Bukayo Saka were all victims to the disgusting attacks, especially to the latter, a teenager.

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Coming from a tournament that has seen the players take the knee before games to oppose racism, it was a cruel and sickening end.

The reaction in Westminster was swift, with Boris Johnson and Priti Patel both tweeting to condemn the racist abuse aimed at the players.

This of course comes after both initially refused to support the players taking the knee before games, with the Home Secretary even defending the fans right to boo it.

Perhaps scared by the ludicrous suggestion footballers were supporting a Marxist organisation, they missed an open goal.

Herein lies the problem. Westminster so often fails to draw a line between its own conduct and that of the public.

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Racism isn’t new in football, but the taking of the knee was a chance for the UK Government to lead from the top and endorse opposing racism.

Mr Johnson has in the past compared Muslim women to letterboxes, spoken of Barack Obama’s “ancestral dislike” of Britain and referred to “flag waving piccaninnies”.

The Prime Minister has said he wouldn’t make those statements now, so why were they OK when he was a lowly MP?

Where is the difference between a fan sending an abusive tweet to a black player or booing him for having the temerity to want equality?

Racism is not just what's counted as hate speech, and nobody is born into bigotry.

It stems from a culture where vile remarks are defended for political means, or allowed to exist through social media companies.

This tournament was an opportunity to show a united front against racism from the top down and they failed.

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