The Daily Mail has provoked outrage after “digging up dirt” on England star Kalvin Phillips following his blistering performance in the Euro2020 opener against Croatia.
Leeds United star Phillips bagged an assist after he supplied Raheem Sterling with a match-winning pass as England won their opening match at the Euros for the first time in nine tournaments.
But rather than revelling in his performance, the Mail opted to run a feature on Phillips’ family, focussing on his Jamaican dad who has been in and out of prison and Irish mum.
The article has provoked outrage, particularly when compared to similar coverage of other England players such as Phil Foden.
Look at the difference 🤦🏻♂️ pic.twitter.com/9YUQfIC3YC— Chris (@Chrisb1993) June 15, 2021
Black Lives Matter
Phillips has been open about his family in the past, telling the Yorkshire Evening Post in November 2020 that his father has a chequered past.
“He’s been in prison, out of prison. He got into the wrong crowd, drugs, fighting, anything you can name,” Phillips explained.
“He wasn’t brought up in the best situation. He never knew his father. He got the name “Chalky” because he was the only black guy in his school and in his neighbourhood. A lot of people still now call him “Chalky”. It’s crazy.”
Phillips takes pride in his Jamaican heritage and has spoken powerfully about the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I think the way it’s grown and expanded from one country to another is incredible,” Phillips said to the Yorkshire Evening Post. “I think I’m quite lucky, because not many people know that I’m black. If you don’t know me and you don’t know my family you won’t really know that I’m black.
“But I’ve got friends and family, sometimes they can’t even walk down the street without being given a dirty look. I’ve got friends who can’t even sit out in their front garden because they’ve got neighbours who shout towards them and treat them with no respect whatsoever.
“It’s very painful for me and my family and very painful for a lot of people I know.”
Meanwhile, Tyrone Mings has called on the largely positive response to England players taking the knee not to be overshadowed by jeers, after Priti Patel said she did not support the gesture.
The England team knelt ahead of kick-off in their Euro 2020 victory over Croatia on Sunday, where a vocal minority within Wembley continued to boo the anti-racism stance.
It followed more vociferous jeering in the two warm-up matches at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium and despite calls from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, England boss Gareth Southgate and the Football Association not to react negatively to the gesture.
England’s players have insisted they will continue to take the knee despite the protestations of some and that the message should not get lost.
“Understandably, when you have such strong beliefs there will be opposition to that,” said Aston Villa defender Mings.
“So we spoke about it a lot, we spoke about trying to educate or trying to inform the minority who refuse to acknowledge why we’re taking the knee and want to do it.
“But, at the same time, in Wembley there was a hugely positive reaction to us taking the knee as well and I don’t think that should be overshadowed by the minority that refuse to accept what the reasons are, or don’t agree with them.”
While Johnson called on fans to cheer, rather than boo, the taking of the knee, Home Secretary Patel did not agree, telling GB News she doesn’t “support people participating in that type of gesture politics”.
“To the Home Secretary, I don’t really have a direct message,” added Mings.