To celebrate Black History Month, BT has pieced together a series of educational content paying homage to Black British history in sport.
Icons of the England national team, Marcus Rashford, Eni Aluko, and Rio Ferdinand, as well as Anton Ferdinand, will feature in their own individual film across the three-part series.
The new series comes after the announcement of Hope United – a diverse football team across the home nations aligning to help tackle online hate.
The mission statement of Hope United is to provide as many people as possible with the digital skills to help combat abuse online. Aluko and Rio Ferdinand are head coaches of the squad and are joined by the likes of Lucy Bronze, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Lauren James, and Gareth Bale, among many other huge football stars.
Rashford is also part of the Hope United campaign and has been extremely vocal over working to eliminate racism from football.
The Manchester United and England star, along with his teammates Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, were recently the subject of extreme racist abuse after each missed a penalty in the 2020 EUROs final.
Incidents like the attack on Rashford, Sancho and Saka are not just singular occurrences. Racism continues to be a major problem in today’s game and now, media giants like BT are using their platform to speak out during Black History Month.
Aluko features in the second instalment of BT’s new educational series, sharing her passion for football’s Black pioneers Emma Clarke, the first known Black women’s footballer in Britain, and Laurie Cunningham, one of England’s first ever Black internationals.
Aluko also encourages viewers to visit the Nubian Jak Community Trust – the only commemorative plaque and sculpture scheme focusing on the contributions of Black and minority ethnic people in Britain.
The other two episodes will see the Ferdinand brothers discuss the BT Sport documentary they featured in – Standing Firm: Football’s Windrush Story, which explores how the Windrush generation has impacted today’s football in England.
Meanwhile Rashford delves into the importance of the role of literature in promoting Black success and introducing young people to Black British history.
“We live in a world where everybody thinks they can say what they want without consequence,” Aluko said. “You can say what you want in your living room without consequence, but publicly there has to be consequence for what you say because it has a real impact on people.
“If you’re not strong and you don’t have inner confidence in yourself, that can start to be the voice you hear all the time.”