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The Eh Game

Adam van Koeverden to formally apologize for tweeting F-bomb at Laval football fans

Neate Sager
Eh Game

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Adam van Koeverden with his silver medal from the 2012 Olympics (Getty Images)

Adam van Koeverden found himself up a creek without a paddle after overreacting to his McMaster Marauders getting spanked on the football field.

Everyone who uses social media has posted, Tweeted something regrettable. Like a lot of people in Southern Ontario, the four-time Olympic kayak medallist got swept up in cheering for McMaster, his alma mater, to defend its Vanier Cup title against the colossus Laval Rouge et Or. This Canadian university football championship had more hype and more media build-up than any that preceded it.

[Related: Maxime Boutin key to Laval's revenge]

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Adam van Koeverden took heat for this tweet (Twitter)

However, there is a different level of decorum expected from a sports figure. Suffice to say, saying, "f--- you" to the a large, prestigious French-language university in Canada is just bizarre in its lack of self-awareness. It's enough to say, "You know what country you live in, right Adam?" Here's the tweet (warning: includes explicit language):

It was just a university football game. But language politics often become part of the back-and-forth between rival fans in Canadian university football players. Laval is seen as representing Quebec and francophone culture by both its supporters and those who have grown resentful of seeing them win the Vanier Cup seven times in the past 14 years. During the 2009 CIS semifinal in Kingston, Ont., between Laval and Queen's University, Queen's fans had a banner reading, "Last week: Toasted Western, this week: French toast." Students also chanted, "Sep-a-rate! Sep-a-rate!" after rushing the field following Queen's victory.

The French factor is always there. This was not the case during the game on Friday, even though Canadian Interuniversity Sport is officially bilingual. (The game presentation was handled by MRX, a Hamilton-based marketing company.)

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Adam van Koeverden's retweet of a fellow kayaker (Twitter)


(Fans of any Ontario team would surely feel they were being treated shabbily if the situation was reversed during a Vanier Cup in Montreal.)

It's fine to joke about the French-English divide. It is different when happens face to face. People can see the humour of it and that no harm is intended and that they're taking it too seriously if they take it personally.

That nuance gets lost on Twitter. Earlier in the night, van Koeverden re-tweeted fellow kayaker Christopher Mehak's pro-Mac message, which might have actually been more offensive.

The Rouge et Or who hail from Quebec City, the domain of Canadian Olympic Committee president Marcel Aubut, who's not amused.

Van Koeverden (@vankayak) spent much of his Friday night apologizing and clarifying his comment, saying, "I was tweeting about a football game, not a province."

It's just never going to be taken that way when it's Laval. Why do you think there is so much passion for that team? It's about more than just putting a lot of resources and money into grooming football talent.

Would that apologizing there sufficed and we could skip directly to laughing about this, unfortunately, that's not how it works. It's a wonder how van Koeverden, a Canadian icon, was so dense about not realizing how this would be received. On the plus side for him, all that time spent apologizing and explaining on Twitter probably took his attention away from the hurtin' Laval inflicted on McMaster.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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