ENGLAND star Tyrone Mings has slammed Priti Patel for “stoking the fire” after Three Lions players received racial abuse after the loss to Italy.
The centre-back said the Home Secretary could not “pretend to be disgusted” by the vile abuse because she had previously advocated against players taking the knee before kick-off.
Last month, Ms Patel accused England players who took the knee of performing “gesture politics”, adding: “I just don’t support people participating in that type of gesture”.
She did not condemn the small minority of fans who had chosen to boo the gesture, telling GB News it was a “choice for them”.
Last night Ms Patel said she was “disgusted” that black England players had been subject to “vile racist abuse” after the penalty shootout defeat.
She added: “It has no place in our country and I back the police to hold those responsible accountable.”
But Mings hit back tonight: “You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens.”
In a string of tweets, the Aston Villa star said he was “so proud of everyone” who had “contributed to the joy and togetherness this team has bought to millions”.
But he added: “Waking up today and seeing my brothers being racially abused for being brave enough to put themselves in a position to help this country, is something that sickens, but doesn’t surprise me.
“We have literally made history. We’ve gone where no one else has gone. Take that in.”
Johnny Mercer, a former minister, tonight waded into the debate and said Mings was “completely right”.
He tweeted: “Very uncomfortable with the position we Conservatives are needlessly forcing ourselves into.
“Do I fight it or stay silent? Modern Conservatism was always so much more to me. We must not lose our way.”
‘WE STAND WITH YOU KINGS’
American rapper P Diddy also showed his support for Sancho, Rashford and Saka tonight.
He wrote: “We stand with you Kings. Proud of all your efforts on and off the field and we will always support you. Continue to inspire. Love.
“And to the racists…. F*** you!”
The PM, the Duke of Cambridge and the FA have all condemned the abuse, while England manager Gareth Southgate described the hate directed at the players as “unforgivable”.
And The UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU) has launched an investigation into the racist abuse targeted at players online and said it is working to trace and identify the perpetrators.
We’ve gone where no one else has gone. Take that in
Separately, the Metropolitan Police said they had also launched an investigation into the “utterly abhorrent and totally unacceptable” reports of online abuse.
Ms Patel’s comments on taking the knee marked a diversion from those of the PM, who said last month that he “fully respects the right of those who do choose to peacefully protest to make their feelings known”.
Asked if Mr Johnson backs players taking the knee, a Number 10 spokesman said: “Yes. The Prime Minister respects the right of all people to peacefully protest and make their feelings known about injustices.
“The Prime Minister wants to see everybody getting behind the team to cheer them on, not boo.”
Earlier, estate agents Savills suspended a worker after racist abuse targeting England players was sent from his Twitter account.
A post from Andrew Bone’s Twitter account branded the players the N word and claimed the England stars had “ruined it for us” after the loss.
Estate agents Savills confirmed Bone was being investigated over the tweets this morning – before later adding he had since been suspended.
But Bone’s family today claimed to The Sun that his account had been hacked – and he had reported the matter to police.
The Sun has contacted Patel for comment.