Soccer star Sydney Leroux says she was object of racial abuse

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USA’s Sydney Leroux said Canadian fans directed racial slurs at her. (AP Photo)(AP Photo/Colin E Braley)

 

NEW YORK (AP) – American women’s national team forward Sydney Leroux said she was the object of a series of racist and sexist in recent days and said her provocative celebration after her weekend goal against Canada was a response to the abuse.

After scoring the final goal during stoppage time in Sunday’s 3-0 exhibition win at Toronto’s BMO Field, the 23-year-old player raised the U.S. Soccer Federation crest on her jersey toward the crowd, then put a finger to her mouth as if to silence the fans.

Born in British Columbia, Leroux moved to the U.S. as a teenager and was taunted with chants of “Judas” during the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament at Vancouver’s BC Place in January 2012. On Monday, Leroux said on Twitter: “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. (hash)america.”

Leroux said later Monday in a statement issued through the USSF that “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.”

The USSF collected some of the offensive tweets aimed at her, which referred to her with racial and sexist slurs and called her a “scab,” ”insufferable classless,” and “a loser.”

“I hope you die of aids,” another tweet read.

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