Police have said that graffiti sprayed on a mural of Marcus Rashford after the England football player missed a penalty in the Euro 2020 finals against Italy is “not believed to be of a racial nature”, contradicting BBC reporting.
Greater Manchester Police made the statement on Thursday night, three days after it launched an investigation into alleged “racially aggravated damage” to the oversized mural on the side of a building in Rashford’s hometown of Withington.
“While the content of the vandalism is not believed to be of a racial nature, officers are keeping an open mind as to the motive behind defacing the artwork,” a police spokesman said, according to the BBC.
The Mirror reported the nature of some of the remarks, which were apparently “sh**e” [“shite”] and “b*****d” [“bastard”], as well as the drawn outline of a penis pointed in the direction of Rashford’s face.
The graffiti also referenced fellow black England player Jadon Sancho — who likewise missed a penalty in Sunday’s final — with “f**k Sancho” written elsewhere on the mural.
Police had responded to the scene of the alleged racist incident at 2:50 a.m. on Monday, and said that they have taken “forensic evidence from the spray paint used” and are analysing CCTV footage.
— Calvin Robinson (@calvinrobinson) July 15, 2021
Superintendent Richard Tinsom said offices were “left appalled” by the graffiti, adding: “we stand with the rest of the community whose solidarity against this vile abuse ever since has really shown the best of our city”.
The mural has since been restored by the artist and has become a shrine to locals supporting the football player who missed the penalty, with people leaving messages, shirts, flags, and other objects at the wall.
Hundreds had gathered on Tuesday to take the knee, some giving the ‘black power’ salute and holding BLM banners produced by the campaign group Stand Up To Racism and chanting the slogan, “Black Lives Matter”.
Reacting to the police comments that the graffiti was not racist, social commentator Calvin Robinson said: “Just your run-of-the-mill thuggish behaviour, not racism.
“This is the problem with seeing the world through a racial lens, you end up seeing racism everywhere, even where it doesn’t exist.
“Let’s see if the MSM apologises for incorrectly reporting on this for the past few days.”
So-Called ‘Anti-Woke’ News Network Dropped to Zero Viewers After Host Takes BLM Knee: Report https://t.co/armZtYfVrR
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 16, 2021
Mr Robinson further accused the media of “purposefully stirring up racial tensions”, and told talkRADIO and its listeners on Friday morning: “The media is stoking a lot of this. We saw recently that mural for Marcus Rashford — I don’t know why he has a mural, he’s not dead — was graffitied on. It was some abusive words, like ‘useless b’, but all of the media, including this outlet, reported it as ‘racist’ graffiti.
“There was nothing racist about it. So we need to hold the media to account. Give us the facts. Stop twisting things politically to stoke racial tensions, because this is the most tolerant, inclusive, diverse nation in the world.”