Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Hamilton condemns “disgusting” racist abuse of England footballers

2021 F1 season

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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.

The Metropolitan police is investigating the racist abuse targeted at players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka which took place on social media networks after England’s defeat by Italy in a penalty shoot-out. A mural in Manchester depicting Rashford, who has campaigned to raise awareness of child food poverty in Britain, was also vandalised.

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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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 45 comments on “Hamilton condemns “disgusting” racist abuse of England footballers”

    1. Sensible words from Hamilton, who has of course been on the receiving end of much racist abuse himself. I am sure the solidarity will be welcomed by England’s footballers.

      But I wonder how much confidence he can have in what will follow. The Metropolitan Police investigating racism is like putting Flavio Briatore in charge of the FIA’s anti-corruption unit.

      1. They’ve already stated (and Southgate) that the vast majority of online abuse originated from outside the UK. Outside the Mets remit. Of course anything inside London they should deal with strictly. I think this is more a case of the internet giving allowing anonymous accounts to be made.

        1. They’re gonna put this on foreigners? That’s a good one, but perhaps too much even from the Brits. I’m sure many Russians, Portuguese or Chileans were angry and disappointed because England lost a game, so they turned into racists to channel their frustrations. As far as I know over 90% of the World (at least people who even cared about that game) wanted to see England lose.

          1. They’re not going to put this on anyone. The vast majority of the abuse on social media has already been traced to areas outside the UK. That’s just the facts. Don’t be upset just because it doesn’t fit your agenda.

      2. @ajpennypacker

        I think that such attacks on athletes are most common when fans identify more with the (national) team than with the athlete themselves. Then when the team fails, many people want to blame someone. And you have fans of the team that permanently dislike specific (or even all) athletes that make up the team.

        This is different from the kind of attacks by fans of other athletes, who dislike both the team and the athlete.

        In F1, the support for the individual teams seems relatively low, so you mostly seem to have second kind of criticism. The first kind is mostly when you have a superstar athlete where some fans think that he is held back by his team mate.

        1. Either way, I’m ok with fans being hard on athletes. I was one of the Barcelona fans at Camp Nou shouting profanities at Luis Figo when he returned after abandoning Barcelona for Real Madrid. I’ve seen River Plate fans in Argentina boo their own team when they deliver a shameful performance. I’ve attended NBA games in Boston where the fans hate on a particular player that made comments offensive to the team.

          Conversely, I’ve seen athletes close their Twitter or Instagram accounts, shield themselves from criticism or the press when they feel it would be a distraction (Like Hamilton his first few years in F1), change their minds about their next team, due to pressure or criticism, and more importantly, rise above the criticism and just do their thing, like Lebron James in Miami, or (ironically for me) Luis Figo at Real Madrid :-)

          Racism and true abuse is not ok. But sports are games. Mindgames do work with a lot of athletes and so long as they do, both players and fans should continue to try to use them to favour their chosen athletes and teams (where allowed).

          1. ajpenny, the sporting issue is just a side-effect to the societal problem in the grand scheme of things. So by saying it’s okay to be hard on athletes, you are just flying past the real issue here.

            The real issues are deep rooted into the country’s treatment and view of ethnic minorites and immigration, England has a serious problem with racial and religous equality, but it fails to acknowlodge it and instead covers it up with the idea of nationalistic pride, then that same nationalistic pride is used to suggest that anyone not of the white skin color, has no right to assosiate themselves with being English.

            Youngsters from ethnic backgrounds are innocently growing up supporting the country they live in, and then as they get older, are starting to realise that the country they are supporting doesn’t recognise them as one of their own.

            There is a lot of talk the pride of being English and that the flag is seen as racist, well, if ethnic minorities didn’t get told to go back to their own countries, maybe they would embrace the English flag and it be more prominent in their identity.

            The way things are right now, people in pubs will continue to marginalise those of African heritage or from Muslim countries, the scenes yesterday were terrible and some of the tweets against those supporting England whilst being of colored skin were abhorrent.

            Reply moderated
    2. Well its Britain, what else can we expect!

      1. Exactly

        Thank goodness the likes of Hamilton can rise above that not get bitter, provide us fantastic performances yet not lower themselves to the rubbish they endure.

        I don’t care what your paid, I for one am constantly amazed at the tolerance shown by such.

        Keep going

    3. They broke through police barricades, booed the Italian national anthem, booed their own players taking the knee, clashed with Italian fans after the match, and hurled racist abuse towards Sancho, Rashford and Saka.

      All the while the delta variant is ravaging through the country, and we are preparing for a capacity crowd in Silverstone tomorrow.

      Imagine if this had been Russia, Turkey, or Brazil. They would be blacklisted publicly and officially from hosting international tournaments, or at least from allowing fans to attend.

      1. They’re a really arrogant team, even before the match started, they invaded the stadium and one of the dressed as the Queen of England…

        1. It’s not the team, it’s the fans.

          1. +1

            Reply moderated
        2. @pedrike please don’t tarnish the England team and the majority of England fans with what a select number of hooligans have done. Most England fans love and embrace other nationalities and cultures and really appreciate how sport can bring them together.

          I’m saddened by how England fans are viewed when most are not like that. Some of how they’re seen abroad is misunderstood, the “three lions (it’s coming home)” song is seen as arrogant, when it is in fact a bitter-sweet lighthearted take on how England fans still hope despite repeated heartbreak at not succeeding for decades.

          Racist abuse has no place, and I really hope a way can be found to prevent it one day.

          1. @3dom I agree Dom, and I’m sorry that I may have commented in a bit of righteous rage and not considered that most English fans aren’t like this. But it does happen, and with football fans especially it happens too often to be forgiven. Hooliganism and yobbishness gets a free pass when stakes are low, and this leads to stuff like this.

            I would blame the English media as well, they have a responsibility in making sure atmospheres of hate and xenophobia are not encouraged, but well-funded trashy tabloids continue to do so, and it’s exasperating.

      2. Broccoliface
        12th July 2021, 20:08

        Source on the clashes with Italian fans? All I’ve seen so far is dim people being tricked by fake news videos.

        1. I saw the news on Indian media, specifically Times Now and Republic World (yes they’re Indian nationalist propoaganda mouthpieces, so yeah, not the greatest, but usually not inaccurate in covering global news), and a video by the YouTube channel CRUX, who also reported that an Italian flag was defaced. Apologies if the news is fake, and the clashes didn’t really happen. Did see some violence and hooliganism, but may have not been directed at Italian fans.

          1. British fans did desecrate Italian flag thats not fake news. There is a video of Italian flag being burned on streets of London post match.

      3. @wsrgo

        Imagine if this had been Russia, Turkey, or Brazil. They would be blacklisted publicly and officially from hosting international tournaments, or at least from allowing fans to attend.

        Correct. A discrimination that everyone just let’s slip because there’s no likes to be had by fronting it. You might even get a thumbs down and then what would be the point.

      4. I don’t think it helped that the Home Secretary said that football fans have a right to boo the England team for “taking the knee” in protest at racism. The Prime Minister also agreed.
        Pretty irresponsible on both counts.

        1. Why does the government want people to be booed for bending the knee? It seems that they have far more important things to deal with. This reminds me of the US government inciting violence during Trump era. Maybe to distract from their inability to contain the COVID19 epidemic…

      5. @wsrgo The government decided to allow full crowds (including VIPs) in order to save the event (UEFA had threatened to send the final elsewhere).

      6. Brits are bunch of grade 1 hypocrites who have massive colonial hangover.

        1. You seem nice; talk about sweeping generalisations

    4. Ah, the cesspit that is social media, the place to go if you wanna hang out with the worse of Humanity…

    5. Call me controversial but aren’t 99% of racist comments on social media from trolls? Immature teens?

      1. No. There are a large portion of them from grown men who are xenophobic and have achieved nothing with their own lives. Unable to look inwards at themselves, they direct their discontent outwards where it manifests as hatred.

      2. Wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of those involved didn’t even realise there was even a football game going on as there all over the World, saw it trending and jumped in on the feeding frenzy.
        If you think all those involved were England fans in the UK then you have a very blinkered view.

        1. Calm down racist. You’re all over the comments section tonight posting BS.

      3. @sato113 100% of them are from trolls, but if they are shown to have done it from within the UK (which is the case for over 1000 of them), they were also criminal trolls.

      4. Some of the racist trolls are teens, most adult men with a lot of free time and rage. The paid trolls seem to come in when the issues are politically charged and social media readers can be manipulated. For instance eastern europeans posed as American civil rights activists making abhorrent statements with the goal of undermining the movement. In China the government pays people to make offensive comments about all kinds of things the government doesn’t like e.g. a living wage, democracy, the US government. For them it’s kinda like in the US when people claim communism only it’s the opposite. But yeah I haven’t heard any recent reports of people being paid for racists comments. It seems there are enough people to do that for free!

    6. I don’t think making such statements is particularly helpful at the moment.

      87% of people in the UK are white. That means that if you want proportional representation, 9 of the 11 on the pitch need to be white, 1 needs to be “Asian” as you put it (although that’s a terrible term which actually includes people from many, vastly different ethnic groups) and the other would have to be either mixed race or from a black ethnic background. Clearly, fewer than 9 of the players fielded were white, so you cannot argue that it is not ethnically diverse.

      This is why Hamilton for one has to be careful when he makes comments about ethnic minorities being underrepresented in sport. There are many, many ethnic minorities competing for Britain and England who are not from a white background. I don’t have the data at hand, but I bet they make up more than 13% of the total. Increasing diversity comes with a problem – what are you selecting on? Skill or colour? If it’s the latter you are fighting racism with racism and this doesn’t work.

      What we need to ensure is that all people, regardless of their ethnic background, have access to the same opportunities as everyone else. The problem is, this is not always a racism or ethnically-focused issue, it is a WEALTH issue. And if you cannot level the playing field by keeping the costs of competing at rock bottom, you are not going to have the working class having access to the sports which are currently dominated by the rich. And although football has gone some way to reducing the gap, F1 has not. But this is because it costs a fortune to go karting whereas football is free.

    7. How did become news here that somebody didn’t like blatant racism in football?

      1. that “somebody” is the reigning 7x F1 world champion… seriously??

    8. Keith, kid, I’m going to give you a small glimpse into our mindset. This is a gift, and I probably shouldn’t even do this. This might be the most informative comment on the entire blogpost for you. For many of us, this isn’t about the black players. It’s about the system that tells us White people are to blame for every bad thing that ever happened, and simultaneously that non-Whites are completely beyond criticism. I actually agree with everything you said here about the players, but I still don’t care. We are dissenting against the system, which today was trying to get a front-page game-winning goal featuring a black player, and threw the championship away in pursuit of this. Thus, the race-baiting establishment ultimately lost this game for England, not the black players who technically lost it. This critical piece of insight is what separates us and you. We don’t care about hurting the feelings of the players, but understand that it is also not our priority to hurt their feelings. This is just collateral damage along the way. We are fighting against something much larger – the anti-White establishment. The way we see it, we are not “punching down” at young players. We are “punching up” at some of the most powerful government/media organizations on the planet. They started this internet race war, not us. They made literally everything about race, not us. They have all the power, not us. This is how we see it. And along the way, reactions like yours will draw fire from us, because bullying people who share outrage like yours is just part of this dissent process. In this blogpost you presented yourself as an “establishment-aligned” target, so you catch “dissent” from us. You may not agree with some of the things I wrote here, and that’s fine, but just know that there is much more nuance to the internet culture war going on here than just “dumb evil racists on the internet”.

      Reply moderated
      1. Kindly note that your analysis of how the game was lost is false, what you did would still have been wrong even if said analysis had held water (from the moral, tactical and strategic viewpoints), and your message comes across as “evil racists on the internet, who are deliberately harming innocent people for things you believe more powerful people did, are deliberately harming efforts to improve the position of white people and lying about it in the hope of getting some sort of sympathy”.

        Please note the contradictions in your own message and sort yourself out before attempting to pursue your agenda any further.

      2. lol replace every “we” or “us” with the “National Front” and this post makes perfect sense.

      3. Wow, that’s some serious paranoia you got going there…

      4. Lopes da Silva
        13th July 2021, 21:24

        Thanks for your post. As an European globalist imperialist Gramscian marxist, I know your mindset since June 2016 and I’m sorry not having noticed it before.

        Reply moderated
      5. which today was trying to get a front-page game-winning goal featuring a black player, and threw the championship away in pursuit of this.

        This is quite the take. Utter, utter BS.

      6. You’re a joke mate

        1. Or Forza Italian NT? Yeah, I’ll go for that one!

      7. Oh vicc, I think you need to talk to someone IRL about these thoughts of yours so you can sort out the contradictions in your own position.

    9. Great… That GB left EU where we live. Not that things are much better here.

      So few cast such a bad shadow on so many. Why is this quietly allowed?

      If such behaviour is not condemned and punished, then it is encouraged.

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