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Altidore Earns Global Respect for Racism Incident

  • SI.com, Friday, February 1, 2013 10:59 AM

USA international Jozy Altidore has received global respect for the way he responded to racist chanting directed at him during AZ Alkmaar’s Dutch Cup quarterfinal against FC Den Bosch on Tuesday. AZ went on to win the game, 5-0, with Altidore tallying a goal and an assist, but the match was almost abandoned due to the behavior of the crowd. In fact, referee Reinold Wiedermeijer left it up to Altidore to decide, but the American repeatedly told him he wanted to continue. "You know what, it's only going to make them stronger if we back down," he said at the time.

Later, when asked to compare the incident to the game that was abandoned by Kevin-Prince Boateng and his fellow AC Milan players for racist chanting in December, Altidore said: "I think it's a bit different circumstances. I'm not saying what [Boateng] did was right or wrong, I'm just saying for him it was in a friendly. We were in a cup quarterfinal. I'm not saying if it was a friendly I would have walked off. I'm just saying it was a big game for us, and we were tuned in. I didn't want to empower them. Empowering them would have been walking off and saying, 'OK, you got the best of me, I'm done.' I wanted to show them they couldn't hurt me, in a sense. I wanted to win the game for my team."

He added: "Today when I went to training, I had hundreds of emails on my chair from people all over the world. I was really taken by that. People from Indonesia and different parts of the world I never would have guessed this news would have reached. For those people to reach out and support me was just overwhelming, and I appreciate it."

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