Athletes getting abused by anonymous “fans” is one of the downsides to Twitter. Some of the racist, sexist, homophobic and offensive things people are willing to type behind the curtain of the Internet is baffling. Usually it goes unchecked.
Sunday, in the U.S. Women’s National Team’s 3-0 win over Canada in Toronto, American forward Sydney LeRoux paid back her online ‘haters’ by celebrating her stoppage time goal with a shush, while ‘popping’ the U.S. crest on her jersey. It didn’t sit well with the Canadian broadcast, or the 22,000+ at BMO Field.
Monday morning LeRoux – who was born in British Columbia but has an American father which allowed her to switch allegiances to the United States at the youth level – tweeted that racist behavior and slurs from Canadian fans played a part in her demonstrative goal celebration.
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
The Toronto Star followed up on the story and reports LeRoux’s tweet about racial slurs stemmed from persistent insults on Twitter. The United States Soccer Federation clarified LeRoux’s remarks in a statement:
“The racial slurs to which (Sydney Leroux) 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. Since the match (Sunday), 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.”
That said, the Canadian crowd did boo her every touch on Sunday along with hurling some NSFW-level insults at her. It would appear, however, LeRoux hadn’t forgotten the game in Vancouver.
Late Monday LeRoux also issued a statement:
“The type of abuse I have received in the past and via social media for my decision to play for the U.S. is a step backwards. It is sad that people are inclined to write these incredibly negative comments, but I am not going to focus on them moving forward.”
The rivalry between the United States and Canadian women’s teams appears to be growing. Time will tell if it develops into the women’s version of the U.S./Mexico.
Hopefully this is behind everyone involved and LeRoux can get back to doing the important stuff, like “Prancercising.”
[Via Toronto Star]