The vandalism of a football player’s mural has been determined not racist by the police.
The vandalism that was sprayed on the mural of Manchester United player Marcus Rashford is “not believed to be of a racial nature”, according to the police.
The mural painted on the side of a coffee shop in Withington had been targeted following the defeat of England at the hands of Italy in the Euros 2020 final. In the ensuing penalty shootout, Mr Rashford missed a key penalty, which eventually contributed to England’s loss. Marcus Rashford, Bakayo Saka and Jayden Sancho, who all missed penalties in the shootout, had to endure racist abuse online following the loss.
The defacing of the mural was assumed by many to have been another facet of this racist abuse. Following the vandalism, many hundreds of people attached notes of support to the wall and, on Tuesday evening, even hosted an anti-racism demonstration. The taking of the knee gesture was also preformed throughout.
The player said that he was “lost for words” following the support.
However, the police have now said in a statement:
“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.”
Superindendent Richard Timson added: “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.”