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Marcus Rashford mural graffiti 'not racial', police say
16 July 2021, 10:25
Police say the graffiti sprayed on the Marcus Rashford mural is "not believed to be of a racial nature".
Following England's Euro 2020 defeat against Italy last Sunday, a mural of Marcus Rashford located in his hometown of Withington, Manchester, was defaced.
Since, the wall has been covered with hundreds of messages of support, with street artist Akse covering up the graffiti and restoring the mural to its original state.
Anti-racist organisation Stand Up to Racism also organised a demonstration at the site on Tuesday, condemning the racial abuse Rashford and his teammates Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka received after the match.
While officers say they are "keeping an open mind" about the motive behind the vandalism, they have also stated "the content of the vandalism is not believed to be of a racial nature".
Supt Richard Timson commented: "On Monday morning when we saw the damage done to the mural in Withington we were all left appalled, and we stand with the rest of the community whose solidarity against this vile abuse ever since has really shown the best of our city."
Ed Wellard, who commissioned the artwork, added that the notes from fans would be "retained and recorded, and, if possible, displayed."
Greater Manchester launched an investigation into the vandalism at 2:50am on Monday, after receiving a report.
Rashford himself responded to the incident in a heartfelt post on social media, which read: "I've grown into a sport where I expect to read things written about myself. Whether it be the colour of my skin, where I grew up, or, most recently, how I decide to spend my time off pitch."
He added: "I can take critique of my performance all day long, my penalty was not good enough, it should have gone in but I will never apologise for who I am and where I came from."
The England player also thanked supporters in Manchester, commenting: "The messages I've received today have been positively overwhelming and seeing the response in Withington had me on the verge of tears."
Finally, he vowed: "I'll be back stronger. We'll be back stronger."
Saka, meanwhile, stated: "I will not let that moment of negativity that I’ve received this week break me."