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Leroux says she was subject to racism at 2012 Olympic qualifying, didn’t address it until now

Sydney Leroux says she's been the victim of "racial slurs" from Canadian fans, just not at Sunday's game in Toronto. (Photo copyright Meg Linehan for The Equalizer.)

Sydney Leroux’s goal celebration on Sunday following the third goal of a 3-0 United States win over Canada deepened the gash oft he loss for Canadian fans.

But it was a tweet from Leroux on Monday morning that set off a firestorm.

Leroux on Monday defended her celebration of her stoppage time goal, in which she pointed to the U.S. crest on her jersey and ‘shushed’ the crowd with her finger, saying that she was the victim of “racial slurs.” Those did not occur at BMO Field on Sunday, however.

“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,” U.S. Soccer said in a statement.

Here is Leroux’s original tweet:

A U.S. Soccer spokesman said the racial slurs Leroux referred to came during 2012 Olympic qualifying in Vancouver, near her hometown of Surrey, B.C. Leroux’s mother is Canadian and her father is a U.S. citizen. Her father is also African-American and the racist remarks revolved around him, U.S. Soccer said in a statement.

Leroux clarified her tweet through a statement from U.S. Soccer:

“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.”

The Voyageurs, a Canadian supporters group, issued a statement regarding racist allegations:

“We really shouldn’t need to address this, but given the firestorm created by an accusation coming from one American player this morning, a reminder to everyone: We have zero tolerance for racist behaviour,” the statement read.

“Anyone engaging in this type of behaviour is not representative of the Voyageurs, and is not welcome in our sections.”


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