Torontonian at centre of racial incident in soccer speaks out: ‘I just started throwing up’

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It wasn’t the first time a white person had called Yazmeen Jamieson the N-word, or something close to it. Not even on a soccer field.This time, though, it happened in a very public setting.

In Canada. This year.

And this time, as the weight of her latest experience as the target of impudent racism had a moment to soak in, during a break in play late in a high-level pro-am soccer game played seven weeks ago, it eventually buckled the 24-year-old Jamieson — in involuntary ways the proudly tough-minded goalkeeper with the Jamaican women’s national team never thought possible.

She began to cry. Then shake uncontrollably.

Then, after teammates and coaches — outraged and concerned on Jamieson’s behalf — refused to continue playing the game, and walked her back to the team’s locker room by insisting on forming a protective circle around her, as spectators yelled at them, it got worse.

“I just started throwing up,” the born-and-raised Torontonian said in an interview earlier this week, at a downtown café. “And I don’t like to throw up. I ran into the bathroom, and I was trying to catch my breath but couldn’t for a bit, I was shaking so much.”

Jamieson, who is Black, had been sure she’d long since grizzled herself to despicable acts of racism aimed at her — acts she says she and her Black family and friends are still occasionally subjected to in her home country.

Her home country not of Jamaica, mind you. But here. Canada. Right here. In Ontario. This time in Peterborough, in June.

And it all went down in a most public setting too, when a belligerent spectator — from behind her net, only yards away — capped a stream of personal and sexist potshots yelled by home-team fans at Jamieson, with a racist slur that, she alleges, only she heard among the game’s players, coaches and officials, as play at that moment was at the other end of the field.

Specifically, Jamieson alleges the spectator used a word once commonly accepted in North America to describe Black people, but which since the late 1960s has been increasingly, widely and increasingly viewed as a slur no less despicable or hurtful than the N-word, when directed as cruel insult to a Black person by a non-Black:

“Negro.”

This is not the first report to chronicle that a Simcoe County Rovers soccer player was the alleged target of a racial epithet that night in Peterborough. This is the first report, however, to identify the epithet, is the first time Jamieson has permitted herself to be identified as the targeted player, and is the first time she has agreed to be interviewed about it.

That the incident occurred just four days before Jamieson flew out to Colorado to rejoin the Jamaican National Team, for a preparatory camp prior to last month’s final Concacaf World Cup qualifiers in Mexico, only made the timing of it, and potential impact for Jamieson, all the more unfortunate.

That the incident happened to this bright, vibrant, well-read young woman with a BA Honours degree in communications and media studies, who has lived the dream of hundreds of thousands of Canadian girls in playing soccer globally, and whose musical interests range from the violin, to cello to drums to singing, is tragedy enough.

That the incident happened here, this year, in Canada, at a soccer game — and not at, say, a white nationalists rally somewhere in the U.S. — is coming as a downright shock, at least to many whites who have come to learn of it this summer through the soccer and cottage-country grapevines.

Black Canadians, Jamieson noted, are profoundly disappointed but, in contrast, are not surprised in the least.

At least it appears the incident is spurring changes that, hopefully, will help prevent it from ever happening again, Postmedia has learned.

If you are a person of colour in Canada, probably you can relate to the pain and jumble of feelings Jamieson has experienced over the past two months, as described below.

If you are not a person of colour, here’s a chronology of what it is like to experience being at the cruel end of bigotry — in the minutes, hours, days and weeks afterward.

♦  ♦  ♦

It all took place shortly after sundown on Wednesday, June 15 at Peterborough’s Fleming College Field. Heat and humidity from one of the first steambath days of the summer lingered, as Jamieson and her League1 Ontario Women’s Premier Division team, the Simcoe County Rovers, had just switched ends to begin the second half against host Electric City Football Club (ECFC).

There is no higher tier of female soccer in Canada below the national team than League 1 Ontario, a pro/am league featuring mostly university-aged players that, in 2022, grew to 20 clubs in its eighth year of operation. This was a league game that doubled as the first leg of the inaugural Trent Severn Cup, pitting League1’s two cottage-country clubs against one another — first the women’s sides on June 15, then the men’s on July 23 — for bragging rights intended to kick off an annual keen but friendly club rivalry.

When the teams switched ends for the game’s final 45 minutes, Jamieson relocated to the goal directly in front of where a few dozen of Electric City’s most boisterous fan group sit, a group self-dubbed “The Current 1819,” who — in the mould of Toronto FC’s noisiest and staunchest in-stadium supporters — bang drums, yell chants, sing fight songs and fire off the occasional smoke bomb in mostly good-natured, unabashed, loud, demonstrative, diehard support of the home side.

The Current 1819 fans sit in what’s officially dubbed by ECFC as the Supporters’ Section — in stands the NFL or CFL would deem end-zone seating. Some fans are only about 30 feet away, at most, from the back of the goal in that end.

By the fan group’s own admission after the incident, via Twitter, its mission is to “create an environment that our players feel supported in, and visiting teams dread coming to, because they know we are the 12th person for our team.”

Thing is, early this past League1 Ontario women’s season — which began in late April and concluded in late July, prior to playoffs — some of those end-zone fans took glee in regularly jeering and mocking opposing players. By name. At least in women’s games. Videos of games posted by the league to YouTube.com offer ample proof. Much more such proof might have publicly existed if YouTube-posted videos from three of ECFC’s four other June home games did not have their sound wiped, for whatever reasons.

In this game, whose video was never posted by League1 Ontario to YouTube.com, Jamieson was not the only Rovers player to be so targeted.

“Early in the second half I started hearing comments about other players on my team,” Jamieson said. “I don’t remember exactly (but) our captain was getting mad. Like, that’s how you talk to young women? You must be weirdos if you’re talking to girls like that.

“They were calling (one teammate) something to (imply) she looks like a man. And they were saying other things to other players.”

This was early in the second half. Jamieson insists neither she nor any of her teammates said or did anything to rile the home side’s end-zone fans. Not even after the heckling started.

“Even when the ball went out, and I would have to go near them to get the ball, I never, ever looked up at them. I literally just focused on myself. I didn’t want to give them the time of day, or give them the satisfaction. I never antagonized them, never spoke to them once.”

Bear in mind Jamieson said she has been exposed to far worse intimidating treatment as a visiting-team goalkeeper in her career, which has taken her from the Toronto Eagles and Unionville Milliken Strikers as a youth, to Carleton University in Ottawa, to semi-pro teams in New Zealand and Sweden, and to some infamously intimidating visiting-team environments in the Caribbean, in CONCACAF play, for various Jamaican national teams — for which she qualifies because her paternal grandmother was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica.

“When I played in Haiti they had to bring in the army, because we were tear-gassed. That was 2018, my first senior cap. So I’m not afraid of any Ontario fans! I was tear-gassed in Haiti!”

Then, for a time as the second half progressed in Peterborough, the Rovers mostly kept the ball in the ECFC end of the field, far from the 5-foot-11, solidly built Jamieson.

“So they started heckling me,” said Jamieson, who wears the number zero. “I’d kick a ball and they’d say that was crap, and that stuff doesn’t bother me. Whatever. I don’t care if they heckle my play.

“But then they started going after my size. They’re like, ‘Do those shorts come with the uniform?’ And, ‘Zero: You’re shaped like your number.’ They’re saying I was fat.

“Then they started talking about my head tie. I always wear a head scarf when I play. They’re like, ‘Is that a napkin on your head?’ Then they yelled, ‘This isn’t a gang.’”

That’s when Jamieson felt the verbal jabs had really crossed the line. She steeled herself for worse racially based potshots to come. Upon returning home following the game she said she wrote down all the things she’d heard, while they were fresh on her mind.

“They said, ‘Hey Yazmeen, zero’s not a number.’ Then they said, ‘Hey keeper, your number is a great choice for you — zero.’ And, ‘Keeper, your shape’s like your number.’ Then they had a song, ‘Zero’s not no, zero’s not no.’ (WTF) does that mean? I didn’t even understand all the things they said.”

Then about 30 minutes into the second half, Jamieson estimates, or around the 75-minute mark of the 90-minute game, with the score still tied 1-1 and intensity thick both on the field and off, it happened.

“One person said, ‘At least zero’s not Negro.’

“It was just one guy, I think. I could (hear) where it came from, in my head, but I never turned around once. I had heard his voice multiple times. He was the one that specifically said that. I don’t know who it was.”

For this story, we at Postmedia have taken the rare step of spelling out the epithet in question. Journalism style is to not use hateful slurs at all. Thus, you normally would not find so powerfully hurtful a word such as “Negro” used in any story. Postmedia editors felt it was important to use it in this instance, not only for specificity but to explain — especially for older readers — why that word went from acceptable and ubiquitous until the late 1960s, to about as hateful and unacceptable a word as exists today in the canon of bigotry.

To wit, according to the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University in Michigan, commonplace use of this word to describe Blacks “started its decline in 1966 and was totally uncouth by the mid-1980s … ‘Negro History Week,’ begun in 1926, changed to Black History Month in 1976 … The United Negro College Fund is now trying to emphasize its initials rather than its full name … Both the Associated Press and the New York Times abandoned (use of the word) in the 1970s, and by the mid-1980s even the most hidebound institutions like the U.S. Supreme Court (stopped using it).”

What’s more, Texas passed a law in 1991 to remove the word from names and places. Last decade, some newspapers went so far as to censor the word from its archives. Two years ago a Swedish senior lecturer was disciplined for saying the word out loud in a panel debate, following a probe that only ever referred to it as the N-word.

“Words become outdated, and we know that they’re wrong,” Jamieson said. “You can’t say ‘retarded’ anymore because we know it’s a terrible word. (Yet years ago) people said it all the time. You still know the history behind such words so you don’t say them. If someone said right now ‘coloured’ to me, that’s a slur. Even though it’s not as aggressive as the N-words, you still know the history behind it and know why it’s wrong to say something like that.

“I felt the reason he said ne-GRO instead of the hard GER is because they thought it would be softer … They thought it would be fine. Definitely, though, I felt (pain) when he said it.”

The next day, the ECFC fan group — in statements and in tweets — said “we outright condemn … any acts of racism or bigotry,” and furthermore vowed to assist the clubs’ and League1’s investigation of the matter in any way; sought statements from any spectators; and asserted “racism has no home in football.” But the group asserted that “none of our members, or any of the security staff present in our section were aware of any racist language” spoken or yelled by members of The Current 1819.

Said Jamieson:

“I feel like whoever was beside the person heard it, or even all of them, because they literally went, ‘WHOA.’ Some were laughing.

“At first I was like, ‘Did I hear that correctly?’ I literally took a second (to process it) because it hit me — like, it stung. And because of how they reacted right after, I knew I heard what I heard … because I never heard any chants about my number after that. That’s how I knew they knew.

“That definitely confirmed it for me … For the crowd to suddenly be, like, chill — and then to start drumming loudly and shut it down, to reset, that confirmed it to me that, yeah, I heard it right. And they heard it.

“It’s my word against theirs. It doesn’t look like my word matters.”

Jamieson said she was “so angry, so pissed,’ that minutes later she made two of her best saves of the season, on back-to-back challenges.

“It was 1-on-1 and I literally threw my whole body into it and made the save (on the first shot).”

At that point, Jamieson said she was prepared to do what she’d always done upon being the target of bigotry — push the pain of it down deep inside, on top of all the previous, compacted hurts, and move on without really confronting what she was feeling about it, deep down inside.

“This definitely was not the first time I’d heard racial epithets.”

Such as when girls at the nearly all-white schools she attended while growing up in Toronto, including on sports fields, “would call me ‘Monkey Lips’ all the time. And it’s funny because all those girls probably have lip fillers now.”

With about 10 minutes left in the game, a Rovers centre back was fouled hard near Jamieson.

“Someone slammed her on her back, at our end,” Jamieson said. “And she could not get up. So then I join some of my teammates in coming up to the ref, and he’s telling us to calm down, and I’m like, ‘No. You are the referee. Your job is the safety of our players.’ On top of that, some of our other girls were saying that their fans are saying terrible things about us.

“So the ref said, ‘Oh, they’re not saying anything that’s really bad.’ He said that after one of our players told him what they said to her. ‘Oh, that’s nothing,’ he said. So I said, ‘They just said to me, “Zero’s better than Negro.”’

“And I was so calm, because I’ve been called everything, I’ve been told everything. That’s not going to make me cry. I was chill. I was not upset or anything. I was so calm. But I just wanted the ref to know that this is what they said, so tell them to calm down so we can have a fair game.

“So when I said that to the ref, my teammates were like, ‘WHAAAT?! They were so pissed. They were like, no, this is ridiculous.”

One Rovers player bolted to the team bench and informed coaches what Jamieson had just told the referee, who’s listed as Roain Satarzadeh in an online boxscore.

As the fouled Rovers player slowly recovered from the hit, and with play still halted, Simcoe County players were summoned to the sideline to speak with head coach Zack Wilson, assistant coach Audra Sherman (a former Canadian national team player from 1995-97) and goalkeeper coach Jerry Pennant.

“There was still a lot of yelling on the field,” Jamieson said. “The fans were still yelling. So I’m thinking Audra just wants to give them tactical advice. I’m still on the field, near my goal. I was ready to continue playing. Is there going to be a free kick? Let’s go.

“So I’m standing on the field and everyone on the sideline was like, ‘Yaz! Come!’ So I ran over and they were all like, ‘We’re done.’ I said, ‘Why?!’ And everyone’s looking at me like, ‘Why are you not upset?’ I’m like, ‘I’m used to it. It’s OK.’ And it’s not OK, but I just kept saying that, to continue the game.’”

Sherman, who doubles as the Simcoe County club’s women’s sporting director, in a phone interview Thursday corroborated Jamieson’s entire chronology of events, apart from things only Jamieson could hear among game participants.

She said she believes Jamieson 100%.

“I’m not shocked about this kind of racism because I’ve watched it happen,” Sherman said. “How it hits me is my late husband was Haitian, and my step-son, who lives with me, is (of) mixed (race) … I’ve seen it, first-hand.”

While on the Rovers sideline during the continuing break in play, Jamieson then was pulled aside by keepers coach Pennant, who is Black and is of Jamaican descent.

Said Sherman:

“When I (approached) Yaz and she told me she’s fine, I was like, she’s not fine. She wanted to play, but I knew right away there’s no way in hell. Then Jerry took her to the side, and she took off her gloves. And Jerry told her, ‘Your hands are shaking.’ He’s the one who got her to see this.”

Jamieson added that “I’ve never had a Black coach (in Canada) as an adult. Jerry asked me if I was OK. That hit me. Because I’m so used to just internalizing it, as an athlete. Just continue on, because no one is going to really understand the power behind that word. So I just said, ‘It’s OK, we can move on.’

“But when he asked me again if I’m OK, I realized that I wasn’t. That’s when I started to cry. And I was mad I was crying.’”

Then an Electric City FC men’s player who is Black came over from his seat in the stands and asked Jamieson what was said to her.

“I told him, casually, and he was like, ‘What the hell?!’ You could see he was like, ‘WOW, that’s messed up.’ But that’s literally the first reaction we all always have.

“So then I thought we players were just going into the team room to reset, then go back out and finish the game. So we started leaving the field, and I asked one of my teammates to get my water bottle because it was beside the net. And as I’m leaving, I guess the ref told the fans what happened, and they’re yelling at me, ‘LIAR!!!’

In the locker room, Jamieson thought she’d composed herself after having cried in front of Pennant on the field.

“I thought I was fine. Others were talking. And they asked me, ‘Yaz, are you OK?’”

No, she wasn’t.

“I just started throwing up.”

Why?

“It was all hitting me. I felt guilty because I was saying to myself, ‘Why did you say anything?’ And I told coach Audra that I wish I didn’t say anything, and, ‘I’m so sorry. It’s not a big deal, I shouldn’t have said anything, I’m fine.’ And she telling me like, no, it’s NOT OK.

“But I was thinking, if we’d just continued the game I would have been fine. I would have just gone home and told my Mom what happened, and that’s it.”

One other thing was responsible for Jamieson’s delayed emotional overload and physical reactions.

“I realized I’ve never had that much support from players when it comes to racism in my life, so that also took me aback. I was not expecting that. I’d never felt so much love from teammates.

“When we walked off the field together, my teammates were saying, ‘Yaz, we got you. You’re going to walk in the middle right now.’ They were hugging me. Because the fans were still heckling me, and they didn’t want the fans to get anywhere close to me.”

After throwing up repeatedly into a toilet, and upon learning in the locker room that the game had been officially abandoned, Jamieson felt even more guilt-ridden. She kept apologizing to everybody, over and over.

“I was thinking I should have just said nothing. I was mad I was crying. I’d just got my eyelashes done, and they’re all falling out. I was just thinking, ‘This is all your fault, Yaz, you should have sucked it up. I’ve heard worse.’”

She thought she was done shaking but had to be told by coach Sherman that, in fact, her hands still were trembling.

“I’d never shaken uncontrollably before in my life,” Jamieson said. “I dropped my phone twice. I was trying to put some music on to calm my self down, and I couldn’t even hold the phone. A lot of my teammates were crying too, because they’d never seen anyone react to something like that.”

It wasn’t just players whose hearts were breaking for Jamieson.

“That’s where it broke me even more,” an emotional Sherman said by phone. “She kept saying, ‘I’m sorry I said this. I’m sorry I stopped the game. I’m sorry I spoke up.’ She sounded exactly like what an abused victim sounds like.

“I said, ‘It’s not your fault.’ It was really painful to watch this young woman go through this, because I know it happens way too often. She shouldn’t be apologizing. She was shocked we were all so supportive. But we’re like a family.”

Added Sherman: “And it wasn’t just us. I don’t know if she saw how much pain and concern the other team had, and their staff. There was a lot of support from Electric City … I’ve had some good conversations with their coach, Randy Ribeiro. He’s so supportive.”

Indeed, when Rovers players finally started leaving their locker room at Fleming College, some Electric City players were waiting to offer Jamieson verbal support.

“They came up to me,” she said, “and said, ‘We’re sorry.’”

It was now past midnight. Teammates would not let Jamieson make the two-hour drive back to Toronto alone.

“Some drove back home with me. I’ll be forever grateful. And that meant one teammate had to take the train back home to Scarborough.”

♦  ♦  ♦

No video of the game was ever posted to YouTube.com, or made available to coaches, owing to “technical difficulties.”

In a statement the next day, the Simcoe club, without identifying Jamieson as the targeted player, said, “a Simcoe County Rovers FC women’s player was racially abused by the opposing team’s spectators (the night before). As a result, our women’s team and staff collectively decided to abandon the match.

“We are disgusted, extremely disappointed and have zero tolerance for such behavior. We stand with our players and staff, and we are united against all forms of discriminatory actions. We … are hopeful that all those involved will be held accountable for their actions in a timely fashion.”

ECFC issued a statement the next day that said, in part:

“First and foremost we would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Simcoe County Rovers and their players and staff for the events that occurred at the end of the match last night. As an organization we believe there is no place for racism, intolerance or discrimination of any form. Our goal is to create the best possible environment where players and fans feel safe and will not condone any behavior by fans, staff or players that is contrary to this.

“In light of accusations of racism and discrimination that have been brought forward, the club has made the decision to immediately suspend all Current 1819 members from ECFC home matches until the investigation has been completed, and an appropriate course of action has been determined.”

In a statement also issued that next day, June 16, Electric City players said “we were unaware of the (racial) situation until after play was paused. We do not and will not condone any derogatory or racial remarks of any nature.”

Electric City midfielder Hailey Walsh told the Peterborough Examiner, regarding Jamieson’s allegation: “We’re embarrassed by this. We won’t stand for any behavior like that.”

Within days, other League1 women’s players who claimed to have experienced various levels of in-game verbal harassment at ECFC took to social media, in corroborating the Rovers’ expressed experiences on June 15 — especially Jamieson’s, prior to the racial epithet.

North Toronto Nitros goalkeeper Raven Edwards-Dowdall, who is Black, and whose team won 3-1 at ECFC on May 18, posted at Instagram: “ECFC fans are on a different level. When we played them they were chirping me too … nothing racial but I thought it was gonna get to that point. Making fun of my name Raven and making bird calls toward me.”

Indeed, game video posted at YouTube.com, with audio, confirms that and more, especially over the game’s final 15-20 minutes. The pointed barbs aimed at her are unmistakably audible, and this from a camera situated at midfield some 70 yards away.

Bear in mind, for the record, that while most League1 Ontario women’s players are university age, and some are as old as their early 30s, there are also dozens in the 16-18 age range.

League1 Ontario, with the Rovers’ and ECFC’s cooperation, on June 16 launched an investigation “to identify those responsible” among ECFC spectators. In a statement the league said it was the referee, Satarzadeh, who stopped the match in the 81st minute “and abandoned the game in the 88th minute.”

Via social media, The Current 1819 fan group issued a statement the next day that said, in part, it had “set out from the start to be an inclusive group of passionate football supporters. Our goal is to create an environment that our players feel supported in, and visiting teams dread coming to, because they know we are the12th person for our team. However, there is a line.

“We strongly condemn any acts of racism or bigotry … Any individual members found to be in violation will be asked to leave the group and supporters’ end of the stadium.

“None of our members, or any of the security staff present in our section, were aware of any racial language from the Current last night. The Current will be giving our full support to the club and League1 Ontario in all investigations about last night’s allegations, as racism has no home in football.”

Jamieson was interviewed by League1 two days later and explained what had happened.

♦  ♦  ♦

Four days after the game, Jamieson flew to Colorado to join up with the Jamaican National Team, prior to the final Concacaf World Cup qualifying tournament in Mexico last month. She’s the third-string goalkeeper for the “Reggae Girlz,” having blanked the Caymen Islands earlier this year in a preliminary World Cup qualifier.

Jamaica won the bronze medal in Mexico, behind the USA and Canada, and qualified for its second straight World Cup, next July and August in Australia and New Zealand. At the 2019 World Cup in France, Jamieson dressed for, but did not play in, all three of Jamaica’s group-round defeats.

She returned to Canada two weeks ago to finish up the League1 Ontario season with the Rovers, who lost last week in playoff quarter-finals.

A week before, on July 21, the league announced it had concluded its investigation into the June 15 incident, issuing this statement:

“Electric City was found guilty of failing to prevent its spectators from disrupting a game, and/or for using offensive language toward a player. Both Electric City and Simcoe County Rovers were charged for failing to complete the fixture. All fines collected will be donated to a charitable organization that works to end racism and discrimination in sport. League1 Ontario strongly condemns all forms of racism and discrimination. It has no place in our game or society.”

The league did not say, nor has the Electric City club or The Current 1819 fan group, whether any spectator from the June 18 game has been found to have said the epithet in question, and whether any spectator might have been punished.

The club on June 30 announced it was “excited to welcome back The Current 1819 to Fleming Field,” following investigations, and thanked the fan group “and its members for working with us to ensure we are creating a positive, enjoyable and exciting ECFC game-day experience for all.”

Game videos posted to YouTube.com from ECFC final three women’s home games — on June 25, July 6 and July 16 — contain sound. No chants or heckling directed at visiting players is audible.

On Friday a high-placed soccer source in Canada told Postmedia that following League1’s official investigation, no person among spectators at the June 15 game could be found to have spoken the epithet Jamieson alleges, which is the reason no action by way of punishment could be taken.

The source revealed, however, that League1 Ontario has committed this coming off-season to (1) review all club supporters groups’ code of conduct, revise any as necessary, and hold all clubs to those standards in 2023 and beyond, and (2) review all safety policies at all club venues.

♦  ♦  ♦

For now, Jamieson is working hard to find a pro team “anywhere in the world” before the current transfer window closes. Meantime she’s trying to find a short-term, part-time job in Toronto.

While she still, of course, must earn her spot as a goalkeeper with Team Jamaica for her second World Cup trip next year, she said she played better than ever this summer, and that she has grown and learned plenty from the incident in Peterborough seven weeks ago.

Why did she choose to speak out about it now?

She said it was when she found herself urging a Black teammate on the Jamaican national team to go public with her latest experiences with racism. Jamieson thought she was in no position to do so if she herself would not.

And now that she has, she’s ready for the consequences.

“Black people aren’t able to tell our stories without getting into trouble for it. It’s happening everywhere, we just don’t speak out about it … But now I’m going to carry this for the rest of my life, which sounds a little dramatic — but it’s not. Because, like I said, this experience, the reason I was shaking and crying and vomiting, was because it was everything coming out that had been built up. It was just the top brick of all the bricks that had been thrown at me.

“I get frustrated when people do hash-tag activism, or performative activism, where they say, ‘We’re going to have a call and a heart-to-heart on the phone, and black lives matter,’ … I’m not saying I can change racism in Canada, or whatever … but I felt it was time to speak up about it — hopefully to help.”

Sherman, as one of Jamieson’s Simcoe County coaches, said she’s proud of her team’s top goalkeeper, now more than ever:

“I think for so long she was taught to have to suck it up, deal with it, and have that mental strength, because it’s kind of maybe like a trauma response where you feel, ‘No one’s going to listen, things aren’t going to change, so I have to be hard, I have to be mentally strong.’

“But is that OK? Should she have to always endure this? So, yeah, she was always mentally very tough. It’s incredible. But she doesn’t have to always do it alone, and be so tough … It’s not a white vs. black thing. It’s actually just about humans doing the right thing, and actually caring for each other, and stopping something that’s not right.”

Jamieson said she wants it known she’s a proud Canadian — “I still get chills when Jamaica plays Canada and they play the Canadian National Anthem” — and is telling her story in the hope it will help her countrymen to better understand the harms racism can cause.

“I’ve now said what I needed to say about the incident, and I’m leaving it at that. And if anyone wants to feed off that, and keep talking about it, then let them. That’s fine. At least I told my truth.”

[email protected]

@JohnKryk

 

 

 

 

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