Boris Johnson and Priti Patel have been accused of hypocrisy for their stance on racism in football after they condemned the abuse of three black England players, having previously refused to criticize fans who booed the team for kneeling.
Both the prime minister and the home secretary said they were dismayed by the abuse on social media by Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho, who missed penalties in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley on Sunday night.
Responding to Patel’s statement on Twitter, England player Tyrone Mings said: “You can’t fan the fire at the start of the tournament by labeling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Policy’ and then pretending to be disgusted when exactly what happens happens against. we are campaigning. “
Sayeeda Warsi, a conservative peer and former co-chair, sent a public message to Patel, the Secretary of the Interior, urging her and all conservatives to “think about our role in nurturing this culture in our country.”
“If we ‘whistle’ and the ‘dog’ reacts, we can’t be surprised if it barks and bites,” Lady Warsi tweeted. “It is time to stop the culture wars that fuel division. Dog whistles win votes but destroy nations. “
He added: “As a proud center-right politician, as a proud part of a diverse and vibrant nation that produced a football team that spoke out and represented England in all its modern and diverse glory, I am ashamed that in 2021 some in politics will be I keep playing fast and loose with race issues. “
Sir Peter Fahy, a former Greater Manchester chief of police and vice president of the body representing police chiefs, told the Guardian that some politicians had “deliberately” misinterpreted why England players were making the gesture of protest.
Fahy said: “You have to take a very clear position on anti-racism. I believe that you cannot be passively anti-racist. You have to resist it [anti-racism] being a political question and it is clear that it is a moral question. You have to make your position very clear.
“There is a connection. Politicians are ambivalent about their support, choosing to deliberately misinterpret what England’s players are doing. That means the minority will see that as tacit support. They are giving them room to operate, especially those trying to distinguish that [taking the knee before games] it’s a political issue. “
Keir Starmer, the Labor leader, also criticized the prime minister, saying that he had “failed the leadership test, because whatever I say today about racism, I had a simple option at the start of this tournament regarding the boos from those who they were taking the knee. The prime minister did not call him and the actions and inactions of the leaders have consequences, so I’m afraid the prime minister’s words today sound hollow. “
Angela Rayner, the deputy head of the Labor Party, was even more explicitly critical, saying that Johnson and Patel “licensed racists who booed England players and are now racially abusing England players.” He said they were “like arsonists who complain about a fire on which they poured gasoline, total hypocrites.”
Former England defender Gary Neville joined those who questioned Johnson’s authority on the issue of racism and told Sky News: “The prime minister said it was okay for the people of this country to boo players who were trying to promote equality. and defend against racism. It starts at the top. I was not in the least surprised to wake up to those headlines; I was expecting it the minute the three players failed ”.
Neville’s former Manchester United and England teammate Rio Ferdinand noted that players who failed would have been idolized by those who abused them had the result been the other way around.
Issue 10 defended the prime minister against charges of hypocrisy, and his spokesman said he “totally rejects that claim.” “[Johnson] it was clear that he wanted to see everyone backing the team to cheer them on and said that racism in any form has no place in our society. He made it very clear … that he wanted to see the entire nation supporting the team and not booing, ”the spokesman said.
Johnson tweeted: “This England team deserves to be praised as heroes, not racially abused on social media. Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves. “He began his subsequent press conference on the coronavirus with a tribute to the England team, saying that those who direct the racist abuses against them should” get under the rock from which did you go out”.
Patel said she was “disgusted that England players who have given so much for our country this summer have been subjected to vile racist abuse on social media.
“There is no place in our country and I support the police to hold those responsible to account.” she wrote on twitter. He later reiterated his condemnation of racist abuse while speaking in the House of Commons, saying that the government would do more to get tech companies to eliminate online abuse on their platforms to ensure that racists online “have no place where to hide, and action is taken. “
However, both Patel and Johnson have not repeatedly criticized fans who booed England players for kneeling in a stance against racism. Patel has said that kneeling represents a “gesture policy” and if booing England players was a “choice” for fans to make.
As players were subjected to a barrage of abuse online, a Conservative MP had to apologize for suggesting that Rashford should have focused on soccer rather than “playing politics” in an apparent reference to his campaign for free school meals.
Natalie Elphicke, a Conservative MP for Dover and Deal, made the comment in a WhatsApp message to her fellow MPs, suggesting that Rashford should not have spent time on her successful campaign of free school meals for low-income students during the school holidays.
In comments first reported by GB News, Elphicke said: “They lost, would it be ungenerous to suggest that Rashford should have spent more time perfecting his game and less time playing politics?”
Labor got hold of the message, and Rayner said Elphicke had been “taunting an inspiring gamer who stepped up to feed the hungry kids when [Tory MPs] voted to leave them without food. “
Elphicke apologized shortly after, saying: “I am sorry I privately sent a hasty reaction on Marcus Rashford’s missed penalty and I apologize for any suggestion that he is not fully focused on his football.”
Responding to Elphicke’s message, his colleague Tory MP Simon Hoare said: “Would you be ungenerous? Yes. Unjustified? Yes. Wrong? Yes.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism