Thursday, June 6, 2013

Defending her caution?

U.S. soccer player says Canadian fans chanted racial slurs at her

U.S. women's soccer forward Sydney Leroux tweeted Monday that she was subjected to racial slurs and taunts during her team's 3-0 win Sunday over Canada in Toronto.

Leroux, born outside Vancouver to a Canadian mother and American father, is a controversial figure in Canada because she switched national soccer allegiances. She played on Canada's 2004 Under-19 World Cup team before helping lead the U.S. to the Under-20 World Cup title in 2008. She has played for the U.S. ever since. ...

See the whole story here, from CBS Sports.

Kicking Back Comments: I am going to leave the whole racial side out for this, other than to say I'm sure there is a blue ribbon panel somewhere in FIFA occurring about this ... or not, because it's women's football. By the way, the CSA reported no such racial incidents, despite truly vile comments on Twitter, and collected by US Soccer.

My angle on this one is the celebration after Leroux's goal, even with the backdrop of the despicable comments strewn at her.

Let's go to some FIFA interpretations found here. Take a look at slide 50, 2nd bullet, which states the following should be cautioned when:

"In the opinion of the referee, a player makes gestures that are provocative, derisory or inflammatory when celebrating a goal."

Leroux's immigration to the US aside, her gesture with the crest of her jersey after scoring her goal certainly qualifies as provocative, derisory, and inflammatory. If this was done in the US and not Canada, I would not caution her, as in such a case her gesture would have been to an American crowd, and likely interpreted as an appropriate celebration. If gestured to an opposing player, not so much.

Context means a bunch in such celebrations.

Image if a US player scored a goal in Mexico City, and did the same thing. There would be genuine safety concerns, and a referee would do well to send off such an offender or "grave disorder" may soon follow.

Her teammates defending her while understandable, shows a clear lack of understanding the LOTG. I also don't think they cared as they were coming to the defense of a team mate. 

I appreciate the vile comment hurled at her, and the team, US Soccer, CSA, and FIFA's reaction to them ... should they ever come from anyone other than her team ... but Leroux is responsible for her actions inside the field and made her point, and was cautioned for it.

Let me me clear, the comments and actions to demean Leroux are outrageous and someone, anyone, needs to show some leadership in this regard. For the referee's part however, she did exactly the right thing and booker her.

To her credit, Leroux accepted it without further incident.

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