Marcus Rashford, footballer, leader, change-maker and all-round beautiful human being.
It's not the first time that this blog talks about Marcus Rashford. The 23-year old mancunian footballer used his social media platform to twice force the Government into a U-turn over the extension of free school meals and support grants for children from low-income families. Just thinking about that needing to happen makes my skin crawl, but that's Tory Britain for you. Rashford used to rely on those meals, he has spoken very openly about having to sometimes go to sleep without any food in his belly.
Unless you have been living under a rock on another planet, you will know that England lost the Euro final to Italy on penalties, one of which was missed by Rashford. After Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka also failed to score, an avalanche of racist abuse on social media was unleashed against the 3 young Black players. Come Monday morning, Rashford's mural in his native Withington had been vandalised with offensive graffiti. Footballers - from hero to zero overnight. Black footballers - only ever one penalty kick away from the most ferocious racial abuse.
Enter the British PM and his Home Secretary, who had her arse brutally handed over by another black footballer, Tyrone Mings. Both refused to condemn the fans booing the players taking a knee before each game, dismissing it as gesture politics. Oh the hypocrisy of feigning outrage over the racial abuse you are directly responsible for. Go on, shake your fist at social media urging them to 'up their game' (and of course they must), but what about you, the elected leader of this divided country, what about showing some accountability for once. But it's not happening, not today, not ever. It all feels too predictable, inevitable even. We live in a country where footballers are expected to apologise for their mistakes on the pitch, and where the Government is banking on seemingly unlimited impunity, normalising corruption and pursuing a terrifying abandonment of their duty of care towards society.
Back to Withington, South Manchester, where in the meantime thousands of people have come together to cover Rashford's mural with messages of love and respect. The racial abuse is not in their name.
The Withington mural yesterday. Faith in people restored (for now).
This lady starts covering the hate and spreading the love.
The vandalised mural the morning after the England loss.