Lewis Hamilton has joined the widespread criticism of English football fans who directed racist abuse at members of the country’s national team following their defeat in yesterday’s European championship final.
In a social media post after yesterday’s game Hamilton described his pride in watching his country being represented by players from different ethnic backgrounds, and disgust at the abuse some of them suffered.
“So much was running through my mind as a watched the final moments of the match last night,” he wrote. “On one hand I was so proud of how far we have come. To be in the final and with such a diverse team is a huge achievement we should all be proud of.
“But as the players stepped up to take the penalties I was worried. The pressure to deliver is felt by every sportsperson but when you are a minority representing your country this is a layered experience. Success would feel like a double victory, but a miss feels like a two-fold failure when its compounded with racist abuse.
“I so badly wanted that win like all of you but for me it was for much more than winning the Euros, it was a much bigger picture. However, the disgusting behaviour by the few, shows how much work that still needs to be done.”
The England team ‘took the knee’ prior to their games in the tournament in a gesture of support for diversity and signalling their opposition to racism, as Hamilton and other drivers have done in F1 since the beginning of last season. Hamilton, who has founded a commission to promote diversity in motor racing, said he hopes yesterday’s events “open a conversation around acceptance.”
“We must work towards a society that doesn’t require black players to prove their value or place in society only through victory,” Hamilton added. “Ultimately everyone on the England team should be so proud of their achievement and how they represented us.”
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