Canada vs. Sydney Leroux, continued: U.S. Soccer issues clarification of player’s racism allegations


When Sydney Leroux tweeted in response to the Toronto controversy, many inferred she was talking about the BMO crowd while alluding to instances of racial abuse. That’s something U.S. Soccer  clarified in a statement issued this afternoon, one that includes some surprisingly complementary words from the U.S. international on the atmosphere during Sunday’s game.

To recap (again): The Surrey-born Leroux’s near-20 minute spell at the end of the U.S.’s 3-0 win over Canada saw her constantly booed, reaction that intensified after her stoppage time goal was highlighted by lifting the U.S. crest off her chest, holding a finger to her lips during her goal celebration. The broadcast team for Canada’s Sportsnet labeled the reaction “classless” and “too American.”

In response to the controversy, Leroux tweeted this earlier Monday:

[tweet align=center]

Later, U.S. Soccer released the following statement, clarifying Leroux’s tweet:

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.

Said Leroux:

“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.”

That Leroux was referring to Vancouver 2012 and her abuse on social media was pretty much assumed by those who’ve followed the conflict over the last year-plus, but with the profile of Toronto’s game alerting new fans to the issue, many didn’t have the appropriate context for Leroux’s reaction.

Now they do.