A leading England footballer has called out the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, over her allegedly insincere position on racism in sport and wider society.
Tyrone Mings has highlighted Patel’s inconsistency on racism, for while on one hand she claims she was “disgusted” by racist abuse hurled at footballers, on the other she has previously criticized footballers taking the knee for engaging in “gesture politics”.
The act of taking the knee has become a key symbol in sport and during anti-racist protests, with England players increasingly adopting the stance at the start of their matches.
The furore over racism in football and wider society erupted after three black England players – Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho – were subjected to online racist abuse after they missed penalties against Italy in the Euro 2020 final.
Mings took to the social media platform Twitter to accuse the Home Secretary of stoking the flames of racism in English football and in society at large.
You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens. https://t.co/fdTKHsxTB2— Tyrone Mings (@OfficialTM_3) July 12, 2021
Mings’ intervention comes on the heels of controversial remarks made by a Tory MP against leading Manchester United and England striker, Marcus Rashford.
Natalie Elphicke, who is the Conservative MP for Dover and Deal, had suggested to her colleagues that Rashford had let the England side down due to his involvement in “politics”.
Immediately after the final on Sunday (July 11), Elphicke sent the following private message to a select group of fellow Tory MPs: “They [England] lost - would it be ungenerous to suggest Rashford should have spent more time perfecting his game and less time playing politics".
Elphicke later apologized for her comments, which were intended to denigrate Rashford’s pioneering social activism, especially in relation to tackling child food poverty.
The racist hatred targeted at Rashford has been particularly intense as a mural dedicated to his expansive role in sports and society was defaced with racist graffiti in Withington, Manchester.