As Toronto FC captain Dwayne De Rosario scored his latest goal he let the front office know how he felt about his current financial arrangement with the team.
After netting his team-leading 12th goal of the season during Saturday’s 3-2 home loss to the San Jose Earthquakes, he strayed from his trademark celebration coined the “Dero shuffle.”
Instead, he opted to run to the sideline – and in a fashion some have come to expect from diva wide receivers – he mockingly signed a cheque.
The gesture was simple to understand: De Rosario wants a pay raise.
Almost immediately the 32-year-old was lambasted for the act.
In an interview with The FAN 590, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment executive vice president and COO Tom Anselmi deemed the celebration “stupid” and the negative backlash continued to pile on for the Scarborough native.
On Wednesday, the nine-year veteran issued an apology during an appearance on The Fan.
“I reacted in that way and unfortunately I did that, but it’s out of frustration, out of a lot of things that came to a head,” said De Rosario to host Greg Brady. “I apologized to the team, to our teammates, and a lot of the teammates do support me. But I don’t condone that gesture that I did.”
Despite regretting the action, the TFC captain remained steadfast in the message he was trying to convey.
“I think I’ve shown my commitment to this team and this city and this franchise,” said De Rosario to CBCSport.ca. “It’s time for [the club] to show me some commitment as well.”
The disgruntled midfielder is in the second year of a four-year contract, which pays him $443,750 US this season, making him the third-highest paid player on the club, behind Julian de Guzman [$1.7 million] and Mista [$987,337].
Currently, the Canadian is tied for third in goals this season in the MLS.
In two years with TFC, the midfielder is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 23 goals, guiding the team to back-to-back Canadian championships while taking home the club’s MVP last season.
Those accomplishments, along with the undisputed notion that De Rosario is the leader of this team, have the former Winston Churchill Bulldog feeling the need to be compensated.
“It’s too long now. Every year I’ve been showing my worth and it’s about time they come to me with something,” stated De Rosario.
“I know of other clubs who have gone to their star players and ripped up their contracts and I think it’s only fair. It does get frustrating after a while — after you continue to give your all and perform.”
Leading the team on the field isn’t the only thing the TFC star has done. He’s been a prevalent member of the community, donating his time to countless charity and promotional appearances as the face of the organization.
Although discontent with management, De Rosario has made it clear he won’t allow the contract issues to be a distraction on the field.
“I’m going to continue to play with pride and that passion and leave everything on the field.”
Fans in Toronto hope management feels as strongly about bringing back their home town hero.