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The Emmy-nominated star was asked by host Stephen Colbert about the “significance” of the sweatshirt, images of which went viral, and what motivated the actor to wear it.
“Well, Jadon, Marcus and Bukayo are three of the English footballers from their national team. Yeah, they’re the last young fellas that took the penalty kicks. They didn’t turn out the way that certainly England would have hoped, certainly a lot of us here in the States would have too and people worldwide,” Sudeikis began referring to England players Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka.
“And they caught a lot of guff online, the three young Black men. And our show is rooted in both, you know, despising things like bullying and racism or whatnot, but it also is rooted and takes place in London in England. And so yeah, it was just our way to use this big fancy premiere to spotlight them and let them know we got their back,” he added to applause from the audience.
Sudeikis, looking slightly uncomfortable at the applause, was mindful to remind people that he had done nothing beyond wear a sweatshirt and didn’t deserve praise. “I don’t mind taking claps for the show, you know, but like taking claps for that, that’s nothing like what they’ve gone through and what they do.”
He continued by pointing out the good work that Rashford in particular has been known for doing, such as feeding poor children during the pandemic. “I hope it’s understood they’re all clapping and supporting them. I’m just wearing a shirt,” he said.
As for the particular design of the shirt and the use of the player’s first names, Sudeikis explained, “It was just a way to humanize and personify those three fellas … their surnames are on the back of their kits, you know, their uniform, so that’s why I use the first names, the names their parents gave them because they’re kids, they’re young men and they should have the opportunity to succeed and fail and tie like everyone.”
Already reeling from the worst sporting moment in their fledgling sporting careers after missing decisive penalties in the shootout that gave Italy victory in Euro 2020, Sancho, Rashford and Saka were subject to horrific racist abuse on social media in the days after the game. The abuse has been so bad that the British government has pledged to toughen measures against online racist abuse of soccer players and ban fans from games if they are found guilty of abuse.
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