[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.
When you chant racial slurs, taunt me and talk about my family don't be mad when I shush you and show pride in what I represent. #america— Sydney Leroux (@sydneyleroux) June 3, 2013
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.”