England lost a major soccer championship Sunday in a shootout to Italy, and the ugly fallout has racial overtones. Three Black players on the team who failed to score on their penalty kicks were subjected to online abuse by racist trolls, reports Reuters. Things got so bad that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince William were among those to publicly condemn the abuse on Monday. "I am sickened," wrote the prince, adding that the trolls should be held accountable, while Johnson tweeted that the players "deserve to be lauded, not racially abused on social media." England's Football Association also condemned the abuse, and London's Metropolitan police said it has opened an investigation, per the Guardian.
The three players targeted were Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka. The latter is 19 and plays for Arsenal, which tweeted that "once again, we are sad to have to say we condemn the racism of a number of black players." The Washington Post notes that trolls posted monkey and banana emojis, along with racist comments, on the players' Instagram accounts. Racism has been a longstanding problem in soccer, with players boycotting social media for four days earlier this year to protest the abuse. Facebook, which owns Instagram, said it removed the racist posts as quickly as possible. "No one thing will fix this challenge overnight, but we’re committed to keeping our community safe from abuse,” said the company. (Read more soccer stories.)