Jason Sudeikis Backs Black British Soccer Players At ‘Ted Lasso’ Premiere

Actor Jason Sudeikis wore a tee shirt to the season 2 premiere of Apple+’s Ted Lasso with the names of the Black British soccer players who were the object of racist slurs on social media following Englands loss to Italy at the World Cup match on Tuesday.

The Hollywood Reporter: The Emmy-nominated actor wore a distinctive black sweatshirt with the names “Jadon, Marcus and Bukayo,” a reference to Black English soccer stars Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka, to the event held at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

Already reeling from the worst sporting moment in their fledgling sporting careers after missing decisive penalties in the shootout that gave Italy victory in Euro 2020, Sancho, Rashford and Saka have been subject to horrific racist abuse on social media in the days after the game. The abuse has been so bad that the British government has pledged to toughen measures against online racist abuse of soccer players and ban fans from games if they are found guilty of abuse.

Sudeikis told Variety: As a show and set alike, Ted Lasso doesn’t just avoid toxic masculinity; it actively rejects it. Just about all the would-be tough-guy footballers of the series end up shedding their protective macho layers over the course of the season to reveal the kind, sensitive men who exist underneath all the bravado. “Any kind of machismo that is there is very much ridiculed,” Waddingham says. “There’s always a nod to it being ridiculous, which is really lovely.”

This approach might seem unusual to TV viewers conditioned to expect otherwise from men in comedies, but for Sudeikis and his team, it was a no-brainer. “It didn’t seem subversive,” Sudeikis shrugs. “The company that I’ve been fortunate to keep as a former high school athlete is a bunch of really funny, kind, sweet guys who are great dads and friends, and very much in touch with their feminine side.”

Watching a show about people learning to be empathetic and not to fear their own vulnerability, let alone a sports comedy, is an undeniably large part of how “Ted Lasso” won so many hearts and minds since its release amid a devastating pandemic. “People have just loved the fact that the show has people being nice and kind to each other, and trying to improve themselves,” says Waddingham. “That shouldn’t be unusual!”