A mural dedicated to footballers Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka has been defaced with racist graffiti.
The three England players have been subjected to vile racist abuse after missing penalties during the UEFA Euro 2020 final against Italy, with police launching an investigation to track down their online abusers.
Now further racist abuse has been scrawled on a mural in Darlington, mere days after the artwork was unveiled on Wednesday, July 14.
The mural in question had been painted on the side of a building dedicated to Arthur Wharton, the world’s first Black footballer to play professionally.
Wharton began his history making career as a goalkeeper for Darlington Football Club in 1885, before being selected to play for the Newcastle and District team.
Some of the racist graffiti was scribbled next to an image of the England football badge, reading, ‘If the current rate of non-white immigration continues, white Brits will be a minority by 2060’, followed by the hashtag ‘wake up’. The vandal also wrote the words, ‘we do not stand with the three lions’.
Darlington MP Peter Gibson has condemned those responsible for the graffiti, The Independent reports, calling for them to be ‘identified and punished’:
The Arthur Wharton Foundation has done much to promote understanding of the contribution of black footballers throughout our history.
I am appalled by the vandalism, and the racism of that has been daubed on the murals. Our town is an open welcoming place to all people.
On Saturday, July 17, activists from the campaign group Stand Up To Racism took part in a demonstration at the Arthur Wharton Foundation, and photographs show them taking the knee in solidarity against racism.
The group tweeted:
Overnight a cowardly racist has decided to spread hate. We condemn this racism and we stand in solidarity with the Arthur Wharton Foundation. We are the majority and cowardly racists are not welcome.
It’s believed the mural was defaced at some point overnight on Friday, July 16, and Durham Constabulary is now understood to be carrying out an investigation into the incident.
Those with any information about the graffiti have been asked to contact police on 101, quoting incident reference 129 of July 17.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk