On July 4, the Mexican Olympic Committee tweeted several photos of its softball players approving the delivery of their official clothing for the Tokyo Games, with piles of cardboard in the background.
On Thursday in Tokyo, the equipment was pictured again on Twitter – in trash bags on the floor of the Athletes’ Village.
Two Mexican boxers posted photos of the softball team’s red, white and green Olympic clothing stuffed in clear bags with other trash on Twitter, adding posts criticizing the players for leaving them behind. All but one of the 15 women roster were born in the United States and all 15 played softball at NCAA Division I colleges, including pitcher Danielle O’Toole and outfielder Stefania Aradillas at the state of San Diego.
Carlos Padilla, president of the Mexican Olympic Committee, told ESPN Deportes that players instead took duvets and quilts from rooms in their village and left official clothing.
Rolando Guerrero, president of the Mexican Softball Federation, told Olympic television channel TV Azteca that the players received nine sets of clothing – three in red, white and green – and that they weren’t able to all of them. pack without incurring overweight baggage fees at the airport, especially with their bats, gloves and crampons.
Most flew with the Japanese airline ANA, which allows two bags of up to Â£ 50 each in economy class. The excess baggage charge is $ 60 for 20 pounds over and $ 200 for anything over.
“With all due respect,” Guerrero told TV Azteca, “we’re not going to attack anyone, we’re not going to respond, we’re not going to say anything on social media. It was just a question. overweight baggage charge …. it’s not that big of a deal.They left one or two (sets).
The next morning here, the players posted an apology on social media.
“We are sorry that the actions of our team have caused such disappointment for our Olympic supporters and fans across the country,” he said. âWe had no intention of disrespecting our country or our flag. We had no intention of ignoring what it means to be at the Olympics for so many people.
âWe brought home all of our playing uniforms, embroidered clothing and softball gear – like what we could fit into one suitcase if needed. We understand that this is no excuse to give the impression of ignoring such a historic event. We will work to do better and be better.
Mario Garcia, head of the Mexican delegation in Tokyo, was not as understanding as Guerrero. He said he had opened an investigation and would consider sanctions against any offending party.
âI think it’s an offense to our national identity,â Garcia told Mediotiempo. “We wish that hadn’t happened, because the Mexican Olympic Committee defended this biculturalism that the team had.”
Mexico finished fourth in the six-team tournament on its Olympic softball debut, losing 3-2 to Canada in the bronze medal game played Tuesday afternoon in Tokyo (late Monday night , Pacific Time). Athletes must leave Japan within 48 hours of their last event, and boxers Brianda Tamara and Esmeralda Falcon have posted photos on social media of what they left behind.
âThis uniform represents years of effort, sacrifice and tears,â Tamara tweeted in Spanish with accompanying photos. “All Mexican athletes aspire to wear it with dignity, and today the Mexican softball team has unfortunately left everything in the trash of the Olympic Village.”
“Are you sure?” someone tweeted it.
âI’m sure,â Tamara replied, with another photo of a green âMexico softballâ T-shirt on top of a garbage bag.
About 15 minutes later, Falcon released photos showing at least four bags of red, white and green gear. In one, the clothes were mixed between a discarded cup of coffee, an empty plastic Coke bottle and a leather glove.
âMaybe to some of the other athletes it means ‘nothing’,â Falcon wrote. âThese uniforms for many others represent our years of hard work, dedication, love and passion. Too bad the Mexican softball team doesn’t see it that way.
The team has come under scrutiny on both sides of the border for its American roots. When Mexico faced the United States in a group game, US coach Ken Eriksen joked, “You just had to play a national anthem today.”
Aradillas is the only player born in Mexico and she admits that only a few teammates speak fluent Spanish. The predominant language on the team is English, she said, “because it’s easier”.
One of those who speaks Spanish is Sashel Palacios, who grew up in Chula Vista and attended Otay Ranch High School. She said she would not play for another country even if the United States offered it, noting that her father played baseball in Mexico before moving to South Bay. But not everyone has such strong ties to Mexico, creating a difficult relationship with the country they represent.
âWe have received criticism,â Palacios recently told ESPN Deportes. âFor example, we were in Puerto Vallarta in a camp and a few of us spoke Spanish but most didn’t, and people were telling us things because we didn’t speak the language or we didn’t speak the language. were not born in Mexico. But we have to focus on the whole picture, we are playing for our families who have not had the opportunity that we have today to play this sport and to bring it to this level.
O’Toole, Dallas Escobedo and Sydney Romero all played for the U.S. National Team before being cut and changing allegiance to Mexico. International rules require that only one of the four grandparents have Mexican citizenship to be eligible.
âIt truly is an honor to represent the United States in softball,â said Romero, who grew up in Temecula, in his USA Softball biography. âCarrying the United States across my chest is a dream come true. “
In O’Toole’s USA Softball bio, she is quoted: âTo be able to play alongside the best and represent the best country in the world is incredibly humbling and special.
Asked during the Olympics about the criticisms at home, Aradillas told the Union-Tribune: âHe’s always going to talk about our team. It means that we are doing great things together. We’re just very lucky to have the attention right now and to be at the Olympics, the biggest stage in sport. We take advantage of it.
âIt doesn’t matter where we were born or what language we speak. We represent a country and I think we are doing it well.