I felt deeply affected yesterday over the terrible racial abuse at the football. I have found it to be a really personal thing.
As a child, I heard of and experienced some of the racism my father Nuno experienced. Even on his honeymoon, he turned up to find ‘no rooms available’ once they saw the colour of his skin.
I remember we were at church and the man next to us refused to give him the Sign of Peace and shake hands with him. I felt his hurt and pain. He was silent for the rest of the day.
Yet, he continued to live his life being kind to others, living with values and working for a pittance at a Day Care Centre for Special Needs despite coming from a wealthy background in Goa. He worked hard to to ensure his girls had a good education.
The parents of the football boys all did the same. What an incredible generation of immigrants they all were. They struggled and worked hard, they passed on good working ethics to their boys who did them proud, worked hard, honed their skills and made use of their talent.
These 3 young men are role models for our next generation. They are not only dedicated to their profession but also give so much back to the community.
These boys also have spent time ensuring those from the same disadvantaged backgrounds get fed (Rashford raised 20m), have local pitches and be inspired.
It is wonderful to see a new breed of values-based football players. All 3 have shown great courage, strength and dignity and have done us all proud.
Bukayo Saka got As and A*s in all his exams, calls himself a ‘child of God’ and chooses his profession over girlfriends and extravagance. He is 19!!!! Still a teen!
Imagine the pressure for someone so young, in front of over 30 million people.
In an interview days before the match, he was asked, what do footballers need to play the game. He answered COURAGE.
The more I think about the whole situation, the more I realise that we all need more courage, more courage to stand up and call people out on racism, courage to do the right thing, courage to stand up to what we believe in, courage to show our emotions in front of others. When we have courage, we pass this onto the next generation, just like the parents of these 3 young lions.
Have courage and a magical day,
P.S. I signed the petition: https://www.change.org/…/twitter-instagram-and-facebook…