Jozy Altidore expanded on why Red Bulls fans’ treatment of him was so upsetting.
U.S. men’s national team stars Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley heard it from the fans at Red Bull Arena on Monday night in Toronto FC’s playoff win over New York. Fans mostly taunted Bradley and Altidore for the national team’s failure to qualify for the World Cup but Altidore said the abuse crossed a line, saying there is “no loyalty anymore” and calling the fans “classless.”
In an interview with the Toronto Sun published Wednesday, Altidore clarified that he was most upset by how the remarks went beyond the scope of the game.
“My comment about Red Bulls fans being ‘classless’ was because of the stuff that had nothing to do with soccer,” Altidore told the Sun.
“My mother raised us as Jehovah’s Witness, and there were comments being said that my beliefs have no place in this country. It’s ridiculous.
“Coming off the field—with Tosaint Ricketts and Raheem Edwards as my witness—there’s a (fan) standing a foot away from me telling me I have no idea what it’s like to represent this country, that I didn’t die for this country and I don’t deserve to be in this country because I don’t put my hand on my heart and that I don’t sing (the Star-Spangled Banner).”
Because of his religious beliefs, Altidore has never put his hand on his chest for the national anthem.
TFC won Game 1 2–1 and will look to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday in the second leg.