Ashley Banjo condemns racist abuse of England players

Dancer Ashley Banjo has condemned the racist abuse directed at England’s black players.

Banjo said the taunts directed at Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka reminded him of the controversy surrounding his dance troupe Diversity’s Black Lives Matter-inspired performance on Britain’s Got Talent last year.

The routine saw a man in a police uniform kneel on Banjo, echoing the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in the US and sparking more than 24,000 complaints to Ofcom.

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Writing on Instagram, Banjo, 32, said: “Still been finding the energy to come onto social media and speak about what’s been happening to the young black players of our incredible England team.

“I just felt a bit lost over it all and trying not to make it about me and Diversity again, but it really did just take me back to the madness of 2020.

“Our performance was too political … It wasn’t the time or place … A majority of the negative abuse wasn’t racially motivated.

“OK, Well what’s the excuse this time? Inspired to see how many people have condemned and stood against all the blatant racism thrown at those boys and I’m so proud of the squad and what they achieved in that tournament. Every single one of those players should be holding their heads high.”

He added: “But we must do better. We must continue to call out these issues every single time they rear their ugly head. We must.”

England’s black stars were abused after the Three Lions lost the Euro 2020 final on penalties to Italy.

Marcus Rashford File Photo
Marcus Rashford was racially abused after missing a crucial penalty in the Euro 2020 final (Mike Egerton/PA)

The racist comments were roundly condemned, with Gareth Southgate, Boris Johnson and the Duke of Cambridge all speaking out.

Earlier on Tuesday ITV shared a message of support for the England players targeted.

The broadcaster posted a black-and-white photo of the team taking the knee across its social media accounts and took out ads in national newspapers.

The image was captioned with the words: “Together we will never lose. ITV Stand with England.”

ITV worked with Uncommon Creative Studio to produce the message, completing the project within 24 hours.

It also worked with the company on an anti-racism ad last year in support of Diversity.