On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Tuesday, Ted Lasso star Jason Sudeikis talked about the sweatshirt he wore to his show’s second season premiere recently. It read “Jadon & Marcus & Bukayo,” and was a show of support for English soccer players Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka, who were all racially abused on social media and beyond after missing penalties during England’s loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.
“They’re the last three fellas, 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, and they caught a lot of guff online. The three young black men,” Sudeikis said. “And our show is rooted in both despising things like bullying and racism and whatnot. But it is also rooted and takes place in London and England. And so it was our way to use this big fancy premiere to spotlight them and let them know we got their back and how much we support them.”
Sudeikis, whose show Ted Lasso has grown into a monster hit due, in part, to his character’s infectious positivity as the manager of an English soccer club, said he appreciates the love that it has been getting for the show, but that he should not be applauded for simply wearing a shirt. He said “that’s nothing” compared to what the players have gone through, and also pointed to the positive impact they were making in the community long before the unfortunate outcome of the soccer game.
And while the abuse the three players have faced online and in their communities was not pretty, more and more people including teammates, coaches, and even Prince Charles have voiced their support. And Sudeikis is just trying to do his part.
“It was just a way to humanize and personify those three fellas,” Sudeikis said. “And it’s why I chose to use — you know, their surnames are on the back of their uniforms, so that’s why I use their first names, the names their parents gave them. Because they’re kids and young men, and they should have the opportunity to succeed and fail and tie, like everyone.”
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