Mexican softball pitcher Danielle O’Toole apologizes for team trashing jerseys

Danielle O’Toole is in hot water.

The pitcher apologized Monday after members of the Mexico Softball Women’s National Team were criticized for leaving their jerseys in Tokyo.

Mexican boxer Brianda Tamara Cruz Sandoval found the team’s uniforms in the trash and was critical of how her compatriots treated their uniforms.

“This uniform represents years of effort, sacrifice and tears. All Mexican athletes yearn to wear it with dignity, and today the Mexican softball team sadly left it all in the garbage of the Olympic Village,” Cruz Sandoval wrote, originally in Spanish.

O’Toole — who said she brought her game jerseys home — apologized to her fans and teammates, saying she takes “responsibility” for leaving some clothing in Tokyo.

“We should have asked more questions, looked into donating, anything except leaving them the way we did and for that I am extremely sorry,” O’Toole wrote on Instagram.

She cited limited space in her suitcase and confusion with the postal service in the Olympics as the reasons the uniforms were left behind.

“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,” O’Toole said. “Still, there is no justifying it, we could have done more. I am sorry, and hope that you all can accept my apology.”

While the uniforms were found in the trash, O’Toole said none of the athletes — 14 of the 15 players on the team were born in the United States — maliciously threw them away.

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“It has been heartbreaking to see how many of you are disappointed and hurt by actions I truly meant no harm in doing,” O’Toole said. “The amount of hateful and threatening comments all of us have received from people assuming that we threw everything away has been overwhelming.”

Many of the hateful comments centered around O’Toole’s decision to take home her bedding instead of her uniform. The 27-year-old thought she was able to take her bedspread home as a souvenir.

“When we arrived in Tokyo, the twin bed sheet that was provided came with a travel bag. It was an assumption that we as athletes could take them as gifts,” O’Toole said. “We were not aware that they would be used for the next person in that room. This does not change the fact that we took what was not meant to be ours, but I hope you realize it was done without any knowledge that we would be causing an issue for the Tokyo organizers.”

Danielle O'Toole
Danielle O’Toole embraces a teammate after a game against Australia.

O’Toole pitched a complete game for Mexico in their 3-2 loss to Canada in the bronze-medal game, finishing her tournament with an 0-2 record and 1.24 ERA over 17 innings.

“Wearing Mexico across my chest has been an honor and a privilege,” O’Toole said. “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.”

To conclude her statement, the University of Arizona graduate who originally hails from Upland, Calif., announced she was retiring from international competition and had played her last game for Mexico.

“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,” O’Toole said. “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.”

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