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Racial slurs aimed at Leroux were not from Toronto crowd
by Paul Kennedy, June 3rd, 2013 10:31PM

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TAGS:  canada, women's national team

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[CANADA-USA] In the aftermath to the Canadian reaction to her holding the U.S. Soccer crest on her jersey and holding a finger to her lips during the celebration following her stoppage-time goal that capped the USA's 3-0 win over Canada at soldout BMO Field in Toronto on Sunday, Sydney Leroux's tweet about "racial slurs" only fueled the controversy. U.S. Soccer issued a statement on Monday afternoon, clarifying that the slurs she was referring to took place during Olympic qualifying last year in Vancouver and during Sunday's much-anticipated rematch of the USA-Canada semifinal -- not from the Toronto crowd itself.

Leroux was born in Vancouver to a Canadian mother and American father, former pro baseball player Ray Chadwick, who is African-American. At the age of 14, she played for Canada in the 2004 Under-19 World Cup it hosted and lost to the USA in the final, but she switched to play for the USA in 2008 when she was the star of its Under-20 World Cup title run. Leroux was lambasted in parts of the Canadian media for her reaction after the goal.

Following Leroux's tweet, U.S. Soccer issued the following statement:

"Sydney Leroux’s tweet on the morning of June 3 was not in response to anything heard during the USA’s 3-0 victory against Canada at BMO Field in Toronto on June 2, a match in which Leroux scored the third goal. Leroux, who was born in Vancouver, B.C., to a Canadian mother and an American father, changed associations from Canada to the USA in 2008 and since then has endured abuse both verbally and in social media. The racial slurs to which she referred in the tweet occurred during the 2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Vancouver in January of 2012 and revolved around her father, who is African-American. At the time, she chose not to address them. Since the match yesterday, she has received a significant number of tweets that contained racial slurs, and her tweet this morning was in response to the last year and half in which such abuse has occurred more frequently."

It also issued the following statement on Leroux's behalf:

“My tweet from this morning wasn’t in response to anything from yesterday’s match at BMO Field. In fact, the atmosphere at the stadium was a positive step forward for women’s soccer. Unfortunately, the type of abuse I have received in the past and via social media for my decision to play for the United States is a step backwards. That is what prompted my response in the heat of the moment. It is sad that people are inclined to write these incredibly negative comments, but I am not going to focus on them moving forward. Racism has no place in our beautiful game and we all need to come together to make sure no players are subjected to this kind of treatment in stadiums or on social media anywhere in the world.  That said, the majority of fans have been extremely positive and I appreciate their support.”




10 comments
  1. Brent Crossland
    commented on: June 4, 2013 at 7:14 a.m.
    Given the "welcome" that the Toronto crowd gave Leroux her caution was not warranted. I understand that the racial incident occurred in the past but the referee cannot have missed the constant booing every time she touched the ball. Her goal celebration was not poor sportsmanship -- it was a response to a crowd that wanted to ignore the fact that three US born players were on the Canadian roster. And after the Olympics Sinclair is the last person to be giving public relations advice.

  1. Ivan Mark Radhakrishnan
    commented on: June 4, 2013 at 7:26 a.m.
    What's the big issue? Joseph Sepp Blatter, FIFA and all the 'officials' in Global Football who went to Mauritius to ASS-KISS instead of working gave a PERFECT THUMBS-UP to the racial abuse of everyone. And now it does not matter WHO IS THROWING BANANAS AT WHOM! What's the big issue here?

  1. Doug Martin
    commented on: June 4, 2013 at 9:19 a.m.
    " but the referee cannot have missed the constant booing every time she touched the ball." Brent Crossland, are you equating Boo's to an oposition player as being a slur, or a racial slur ? Leroux was carded by the referee for her actions in the game, she was booed for having switched associations after being in the CSA national development program for years, i.e. she was poached to play for USA. The players with dual citizenship who have choosen to play with Canada by a large are not and have not been in your National Team set up, much like the Latinas who cannot get a look by the USSF, players look for other outlets for their talent, the Latin players with Mexican heritage go to Mexico when they see they are not going to part of the USSF program. Leroux was treated as an opposing player, the home crowd dissed her but did not abuse her racially, her tweet was ill advised. Her association has appropriately stepped in to clarify the mis-communication that cast a negative view of Toronto, and Canadian fans. If she is ever subject to Racial taunting, she should take the appropriate steps, report it to her team captian, the referee, her coach, not get on Twiter and cast unfounded and unsupported "facts" which she and her association later admit were not true. I am sure she has now ensured she will be booed every time she touches the ball in a Canada Vs USA game, much like US keepers will be counted out, one, two, three, four, five, six... as a reminder to the referee of the "laws" of the game.

  1. Brent Crossland
    commented on: June 4, 2013 at 10:02 a.m.
    Mr. Martin. Read my comment. I clearly stated that the racial incident was NOT related to the Toronto match. And I don't expect the fans at a match to be rational -- US or Canadian. I do expect that of the referee.

  1. Doug Martin
    commented on: June 4, 2013 at 10:08 a.m.
    Brent Crossland, you stated..."I understand that the racial incident occurred in the past but the referee cannot have missed the constant booing every time she touched the ball." What did you want the referee to do when Leroux was booed ? You seem to linking booing to something that should be sanctioned, please explain, perhaps I am not understanding you but it seems you think booing is not allowed ?

  1. Brent Crossland
    commented on: June 4, 2013 at 11:05 a.m.
    No sir. I do not think that booing is not allowed nor should it be. I simply tried to state that I felt the referee overreacted in cautioning Leroux for a simple goal celebration that to me was clearly a reaction to the crowd. The fans are entitled to voice their opinions within reason. The Toronto crowd clearly did that. (Unlike the European incidents that Mr. Radhakrishnan refers to above.) Leroux responded by demonstrating to the crowd that she was happy with her decision. That should have been the end of it . . . at least for this game. I'm sure that you are correct that this reaction to Leroux will continue with at least some Canadian fans. Others will eventually adopt the attitude of the Canadian Women's coach roughly paraphrased as "stuff" happens.

  1. David Huff
    commented on: June 4, 2013 at 1:50 p.m.
    All I can say about this latest twist in the complicated US-Canada relationship is "Oh Canada . . ." :-)

  1. Bruce Moorhead
    commented on: June 4, 2013 at 4:32 p.m.
    In a perverse way, I have to echo the comments of several coaches and players that I heard the day before the game. I think these controversies are great for the sport in both countries! Now we can start to have the intense US vs Canada rivalry in soccer that we already have in ice hockey. I look forward to the 2014 and 2015 tournaments.

  1. Power Dive
    commented on: June 4, 2013 at 6:29 p.m.
    Leroux is awesome and I loved her celebration. I am a huge hockey fan (mostly at the junior level rather than NHL) so Canadians are more relevant to me than your average American. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with them. They bring down a lot of talent to play in college and the players are great players and teammates. Parents that I have met are also great. But, get Canadians in a USA vs. Canada tournament and I hate those pompous pricks. They think they are so much better than us I want nothing more than to stick it to them (yes, I realize the overall irony of an American making that statement). And, Canada wants nothing more than to stick it to us. Who won the 2013 World Junior Championships Canada? Sorry, I digress. Anyway, I think Leroux was justified in her actions because of the contstant taunting, racist chants in 2012 and the ones she constantly receives on Twitter. Whatever your belief, this makes for a great rivalry. Canada is damn good in soccer now and are true North American rivals. I'm sure Leroux will get hell the next time she steps on Canadian soil and I hope she sticks it to them again and flexes the patch of the USA.

  1. Jack Aldridge
    commented on: June 4, 2013 at 6:58 p.m.
    So it took her over a year to react to a racial slur?...she's crazy as Hope Solo.


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