Danielle O’Toole, a pitcher for Mexico’s softball team, apologized Monday after the team received criticism for leaving its uniforms behind at Tokyo’s Olympic village.
Mexican softball players had come under fire for leaving uniforms in the trash. Mexican boxer Brianda Tamara Cruz Sandoval found some of the uniforms and criticized the softball team for leaving the clothes behind, according to ESPN.
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“This uniform represents years of effort, sacrifice and tears,” Cruz Sandoval tweeted Thursday. “All of us who are Mexican athletes yearn to wear it with dignity, and today sadly the Mexican softball team left it in the Olympic Village’s trash.”
O’Toole said she wanted to tell her side of the story and said none of the uniforms were thrown away.
“None of my teammates threw their jerseys away. It has been heartbreaking to see how many of you are disappointed and hurt by actions I truly meant no harm in doing. The amount of hateful and threatening comments all of us have received from people assuming that we threw everything away has been overwhelming,” O’Toole’s statement on Instagram read.
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“I am taking responsibility for leaving some Lining clothing in Tokyo. I asked the postal service in the village if they ship boxes internationally and they said letters only. We should have asked more questions, looked into donating, anything except leave them the way we did and for that I am extremely sorry. From the bottom of my heart. I tried very hard to fit as much as I could … clothing, toiletries, and items of sentimental value into the one suitcase that was allowed. Still, there is no justifying it, we could have done more. I am sorry, and hope that you all can accept my apology.”
Mexico finished in fourth place, losing to Canada in the bronze-medal game, 3-2.
“Wearing Mexico across my chest has been an honor and a privilege,” O’Toole added. “I would never throw anything away with malicious intent or to disrespect the country we worked so hard for. I chose to represent Mexico. I am grateful to my family who came to the U.S. and worked hard so I could have this life. So I could play in the Olympics and live out my dream. Before this story circulated, we as a team were receiving love, heartfelt messages, and we could feel your positivity radiate through. I have never wanted anything more in my life than to make sure that we brought a medal back to Mexico.
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“I have played my last game for Mexico, my white jersey has dirt and tears on it from our last game and it will stay that way forever. I will be hanging my jerseys in my home because we achived something historic. Because I am proud to be Mexican. Proud of my heritage. Proud to have3 had the honor of representing Mexico.”