Ted Lasso star Jason Sudeikis has shared his support for English players who were subjected to racist abuse after the Euro 2020 final.
The US actor plays a folksy American football coach parachuted into a struggling English soccer team in the hit Apple TV+ comedy.
At the season two premiere in Los Angeles on Thursday, Sudeikis, 45, wore a black shirt bearing the names “Jadon & Marcus & Bukayo”.
Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka were all racially abused on social media after missing penalties in the final against Italy.
Sudeikis told the PA news agency he felt “horrible” about the abuse and said “I disagree with it”.
Sudeikis, who also wore trainers emblazoned with the words “equality,” added: “We let the shirt speak for itself.”
His co-star Jeremy Swift plays AFC Richmond’s bumbling administrator Higgins in Ted Lasso, and like Sudeikis earned an Emmy nomination this week.
The British actor said Sudeikis’s gesture did not surprise him.
He told PA: “Jason is just completely sound and always slightly ahead of you. He’s very, very smart and very, very emotionally smart, intelligent.
“As well as being hugely funny and a brilliant actor – ah, he’s really annoying!”
The racist abuse of England’s players has been roundly condemned, with Boris Johnson and Gareth Southgate all speaking out.
Ted Lasso premiered in August last year and was an immediate hit.
Critics praised its relentlessly upbeat tone as it charted the fortunes of the London-based AFC Richmond following the controversial arrival of Lasso.
As well as Sudeikis and Swift, the series also stars Hannah Waddingham, Juno Temple and Brett Goldstein, among others.
Ted Lasso received 20 nominations at the Emmy Awards, the annual ceremony which recognises excellence in US TV.
“I did not expect that at all, sincerely did not expect it,” Jeremy Swift said at the premiere. “So I was a little bit weepy, then I was baffled because I couldn’t find anything about it so then I was like ‘oh’ and slightly regretful that I’d been emotional. And then I was just a bit tired. All in about 15 seconds.”
Swift credits Ted Lasso’s positivity with its huge popularity, describing it as “refreshing”.
He said: “There have been a lot of cynical, very funny shows, which still have credibility. But I think this is a very positive show and of course people have taken to that during the pandemic as quite a tonic and a balm or a bandage in a way, psychologically.”
Ted Lasso will return for season two on July 23 on Apple TV+. The 12-episode second season will premiere with one episode, followed by new episodes weekly, every Friday.