Pitcher Danielle O’Toole, a former All-American at the University of Arizona and a member of the Mexican softball team at the Tokyo Olympics, posted an apology on Instagram on Sunday after players were criticized for leaving uniforms in the trash at the Olympic Village.
In the apology, which was posted in English and Spanish and included a photo of jerseys labeled July 31, 2021, O’Toole said she brought home her game jerseys but that she takes “responsibility” for leaving some clothing in Tokyo. She said she fit as much as she could into the one suitcase that was allowed, and the international shipping options at the Olympic Village did not include boxes.
“We should have asked more questions, looked into donating, anything except leaving them the way we did and for that I am extremely sorry,” she wrote.
O’Toole, who pitched a complete game in Mexico’s 3-2 loss to Canada in the bronze-medal game and went 0-2 with a 1.24 ERA over 17 innings at the Games, said the act was not meant to be disrespectful and that the criticism she and her teammates have received has been “overwhelming.”
“Wearing Mexico across my chest has been an honor and a privilege,” she wrote. “I would never throw anything away with malicious intent or to disrespect the country we worked so hard for.”
On July 29, boxer Brianda Tamara Cruz posted pictures of softball uniforms that she said were found in the trash at the Olympic Village. Of the 15 players on Team Mexico, 14 were born in the United States.
“This uniform represents years of effort, sacrifice and tears,” Cruz’s tweet read in Spanish. “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.”
Carlos Padilla Becerra, president of the Mexican Olympic Committee, told ESPN: “It’s regrettable that they left behind the uniforms in such an inappropriate place as the garbage in favor of some bedspreads from the Olympic Village.”
O’Toole said the players received “hateful and threatening comments” as the story gained traction. As for the bedding, she said the sheet she received came with a travel bag, and she assumed it was a gift.
Also in her post, the 27-year-old O’Toole said she had played her final game for Mexico, which made its first appearance in softball at the Tokyo Olympics.
“My white jersey has dirt and tears on it from our last game and it will stay that way forever,” she wrote. “I will be hanging my jerseys in my home because we achieved something historic. Because I am proud to be Mexican. Proud of my heritage. Proud to have had the honor of representing Mexico.”