Marcus Rashford has been inundated with messages of support after revealing he was facing accusations of benefiting commercially from his campaigning.
The England forward, 23, tweeted that The Spectator magazine wanted to run the story as he defended his off-field partnerships with brands.
He asked his followers: ‘Why can’t we just do the right thing?’
His tweets were met with widespread support, with many hitting out at The Spectator and questioning the right-leaning magazine’s record on racism. No story has yet been published.
The Manchester United player has forced a series of Government U-turns over free school meals during the Covid crisis.
He has backed a number of child food poverty incentives and became the youngest person to top the Sunday Times Giving List by raising £20 million – the equivalent of 125% of his wealth.
Rashford faced racial abuse along with Jaydon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who all missed penalties for England in the Euro 2020 final against Italy.
A mural to Rashford was defaced but then swamped with messages of support for the popular footballer.
His partnership with Burberry saw the fashion company make a number of donations to youth charities and youth clubs, including London Youth and Norbrook Youth Club in Manchester, which Rashford attended as a child.
Before that he launched a petition urging the Government to extend free school meals through the half-term and Christmas holidays, eventually pressuring ministers into providing £170 million of extra funding.
Rashford, who received free school meals himself, was made an MBE in the delayed 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Following his tweet on Tuesday night, Labour MP Zarah Sultana wrote: ‘The Spectator is apparently set to run a hit piece against Marcus Rashford.
‘This magazine has published articles saying black people have lower IQs, that “there’s not nearly enough Islamophobia in the Tory Party”, & defending Greek neo-Nazis.
‘They’re not fit to lick his boots.’
Manchester’s Labour Mayor Andy Burnham also tweeted his support.
His colleague in Westminster, the MP Jess Phillips added: ‘The backlash always comes. Marcus Rashford has done nothing wrong but he doesn’t have to be perfect to do good regardless.
‘This kind of attack always comes for people trying to make change and be kind, it’s to try and put others off doing it.’
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