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Another wrinkle to Canada vs. Sydney Leroux: Player drops racism bomb via Twitter

Jun 3, 2013, 4:06 PM EDT

People reasonably assumed Sydney Leroux’s tweet, sent in the wake of the U.S.’s 3-0 victory at BMO Field, referenced the crowd in Toronto. Let’s not be too rash. As we discussed yesterday, Canadian soccer fans’ problems with the U.S. international extend well beyond Sunday’s game. She first appeared for the senior team in 2011, was cap-tied in early 2012, and was playing for U.S. youth teams well before that. Sunday may have been her first appearance in Toronto, but Leroux’s abuse from disappointed Canadians is a well-established phenomenon.

In case you missed what happened yesterday: Leroux, a Canadian-born U.S. international, came on to boos in the 74th minute. Every touch, she was booed. In stoppage time, she scored a goal, turned to the crowd and lifted her shirt’s U.S. crest in celebration before holding her finger to her lips, shushing the boos (and worse, via this NSFW audio).

Again, this isn’t necessarily about booing a player or sending random Twitter barbs to somebody’s account. This is about the aspects that transcend typical practice. This isn’t about one player’s otherwise commonplace celebration (please spare the Robin van Persie comparisons; they’re inapplicable here). It’s about the xenophobic in-game commentary from Sportsnet. It’s about inappropriately personal commentary that crossed the line of reasonable broadcaster inquiry. It’s about potential racism claims, all of which go beyond fans being fans.

And it’s important to keep in mind that, at this point, this is just potential racism. What people hear is often different from what was said, and personal interpretation adds another layer of potential obfuscation. The Canadian Soccer Association will pursue this, as will U.S. Soccer, and if there is something to what Leroux is claiming, it may well apply to last January’s Olympic qualifiers in Vancouver. Or the barrage of negativity Leroux deals with on social media. As with her celebration, Leroux’s tweet represents the culmination of years of conflict. We can’t assume Toronto.

I’m cynical enough to assume every prominent player of color has at one point overheard some insecure moron mouthing off from the wrong end of of their blood alcohol level. Idiots like this (NSFW) existed before Sunday’s goal, oo when I see claims like Leroux’s hit the world, I tend to believe them, think they happen more than we know, but also just shake my head in disappointment at a world so ignorant that racism’s become a “yeah, of course that happened” occurrence. I don’t think this will ever stop; rather, we have to continue a dialog that leads to an world where such behaviors are increasingly unacceptable.

If the latest incident happening in Toronto, the CSA and USSF have an opportunity to send a message, if not take some kind of action against whomever said it. If Leroux’s referencing something from the past, unfortunately, this is a topic for discussion, not investigation. Regardless, and beyond the Leroux incident, we need to consider why people still feel entitled to bring hate speech into the public realm. Odds are our own  “yeah, of course” attitudes are part of the problem.

  1. dws110 - Jun 3, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Oh, Canada…

  2. jpan007 - Jun 3, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    I think she is kinda an attention whore

    • alexcisneros88 - Jun 3, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      Yep, when she made a decision to join the U.S. U-20 team, she was obviously thinking, “I hope Canada becomes obsessed with taunting me as a way of venting their own frustration in losing.” This was all part of her master plan. She was asking for it, right?

      … You’re disgusting.

      • jpan007 - Jun 3, 2013 at 7:41 PM

        idiot. she is an attention whore with this issue. bringing attention to it without prove.
        oh a player gets booed. BIG DEAL!!!!

    • fissilemissile - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      So what do you want her to do, go up into the stands and point out the person amongst 20 – 30,00 people that said those things to her. She’s on the field and she heard what she heard. It’s not unlikely that she’d hear those things. To bring it up is up to her. She’s not being an attention whore. In fact you have some ego, jpan007, claiming that this never happened. Were you there? Were you standing next to her the entire game? Do you have proof that it didn’t happen? You have nothing. Get a grip.

  3. alexcisneros88 - Jun 3, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    Dobson deleted his tweet. What did it say?

    I’m a little bothered by the Canadian commentators who are calling her a liar. They seem to be missing the point entirely. They say, “I didn’t hear any organized chant,” declare it a lie and move on. I guess the bar is extremely low.

    • Richard Farley - Jun 3, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      the tweet

      I don’t think he deleted it, but I suppose there is the possibility it will happen. Here’s a screenshot.

      • alexcisneros88 - Jun 3, 2013 at 5:13 PM

        For whatever reason I was getting an error when I clicked the link, thanks. So much for “Hey, it’s nothing personal,” right? What a truly bizarre thing to say — on multiple levels. My final word of Dobson: Creep.

      • randomhookup - Jun 3, 2013 at 5:45 PM

        Twitter has been broken today, so that’s probably why…

  4. mdac1012 - Jun 3, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    Sounds like the little brothers up north have their panties in a bunch. Lets keep it classy Canada, lets keep it classy.

  5. tmi3rd - Jun 3, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Unfortunately, this mirrors the kind of stuff hurled at Brett Hull when he played for the US (he was born in Belleville, ON, and his father Bobby is an NHL Hall of Famer and Canadian national team veteran) in the ’96 World Cup of Hockey. Every time the US played in Canada, he’d get booed every time he touched the puck. Organized chants of “traitor” would rain down when his line was on the ice, and so forth.

    Leroux’s entry into the match mirrored a lot of that. It’s really disappointing, but not entirely surprising. Heck, look at the Canadian remarks on previous threads here.

    Full disclosure: my wife’s from Calgary, I worked in the minor leagues of hockey, and I’m a KC supporter in MLS.

    • tmi3rd - Jun 3, 2013 at 8:29 PM

      Just for a point of clarity: it’s particularly disappointing because across many sports, Canadian fans are often some of the most classy I’ve encountered, and the folks who visit us in KC have been delightful, without exception.

  6. 76bean - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    This is bizarre. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

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