An apology to the Bermuda Under-15 girls football team
The story that appeared in the sports pages of this newspaper on Thursday informing of the exit of Bermuda from the Concacaf Under-15 Girls Championship in Orlando, Florida, was accompanied by an inappropriate headline, for which we are deeply sorry.
The girls, most of whom are between the ages of 12 and 14, carried themselves with dignity throughout the event and made strides in the tournament that not only made supporters at home proud but also turned a few heads in the US. A quarter-final against the heavily favoured host nation was always going to be a hurdle too far and although the 12-0 final scoreline was disappointing, despite being a player short for an hour, we regrettably compounded the sense of hurt when a simpler, softer approach might have been more appropriate.
We at The Royal Gazette pride ourselves in being a champion for Bermuda's young people and for our youth in sport, with the previous coverage of the under-15 team at this tournament and in today's sports pages being examples, and have also made strides in ensuring that there is an eye to gender equality by featuring girls and women in sport with greater regularity.
But on this occasion, though, we have let ourselves down, we have let the Bermuda public down and, most significantly, we have let down a young team barely into their teen years. It was an action that would be justifiably more appropriate for a team of adults, but only just.
Criticism yesterday was fully warranted, even from those who spied this as an opportunity to pile in on an exposed historical adversary. There is little defence that can be offered.
To the girls who played their hearts out, to their coaches, family and friends, and to the Bermuda Football Association, we offer a most heartfelt and sincere apology.
Girls, keep your heads up, continue to train with steadfast commitment and endeavour to play hard but fair. Do not be discouraged. What does not break you will make you stronger.
DEXTER SMITH, Editor