Canadian rugby coach fired following tweets criticizing Olympic women’s team thumbnail

Canadian rugby coach fired following tweets criticizing Olympic women’s team

Jamie Cudmore, a former player and now an assistant coach for the men’s national XVs team, wrote the tweets after the women’s team crashed out of medal contention at Tokyo 2020

Author of the article:

Patrick Johnston

Publishing date:

Jul 30, 2021  •  4 minutes ago  •  5 minute read  •  36 Comments

Anne-Cecile Ciofani of France in action with Elissa Alarie of Canada.
Anne-Cecile Ciofani of France in action with Elissa Alarie of Canada. Photo by SIPHIWE SIBEKO /REUTERS

A veteran of the Canadian men’s rugby team, who faced a stampede of criticism after he wrote a series of tweets criticizing the political stances taken by the national women’s rugby sevens team, has been fired by Rugby Canada.


Jamie Cudmore, a former player who was serving an assistant coach for the men’s national XVs team, as well as running the national development academy in Langford, B.C., was terminated Friday afternoon, Rugby Canada confirmed in an email.

After the women’s team crashed out of medal contention at Tokyo 2020, rather than criticizing the poor play of the team — they suffered heavy defeats against Fiji and France — Cudmore took aim at the team’s politics.

“Karma is a bitch ! #Survivorsmyass,” he initially tweeted before sharing an image — not seen by Postmedia — that Twitter flagged as “potentially sensitive content.” He then tweeted “I think someone should decolonize 9th place tomorrow.”

His references to “survivors” and “decolonize” were references to statements the women’s team have made in the past.


“LFG China,” he also tweeted, in support of the Chinese women’s team, who needed a big win over Japan to qualify ahead of Canada. (China beat Japan 29-0, to leap ahead of the Canadians in the overall standings.)

Cudmore later deleted the tweets.

Rugby Canada reacted swiftly, sending out a response early Friday morning via social media.

“Rugby Canada stands with our women’s 7s athletes. We support the team in their efforts both on and off the rugby pitch and are proud of the way they have represented our country. Rugby Canada is aware of recent social media comments made about the team and worked to ensure they were removed as quickly as possible,” the national organization said.

“Our organizational values include solidarity and respect, and everyone on our staff is expected to help create an inclusive environment for all.”


Rugby Canada’s senior management team decided Friday afternoon to terminate Cudmore’s employment, effective immediately.

“This decision comes as a result of a review of recent social media postings which were unacceptable and in breach of organization policy,” Rugby Canada said in a statement.

“Rugby Canada’s core values, including integrity and respect, must be exemplified in all our rugby programs and we are determined to promote a healthy, inclusive culture now and in future,” Rugby Canada board chair Sally Dennis added.

Last winter, the women’s team filed a series of complaints against former head coach John Tait, which were investigated under Rugby Canada’s harassment and bullying policies. Tait was cleared by the investigation but his position was untenable and he stepped down after more than a decade in charge of the women’s program.


Before these games began, the women spoke up about human rights issues, especially around racial and cultural inclusion and the historical treatment of Indigenous peoples in Canada, as well as the structure of their own program.

More On This Topic

  1. Coralie Bertrand of France in action against Canada. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

    Canada’s women rugby sevens squad bombs out of medal contention at the Olympics

  2. Charity Williams is one of six returnees from a group that earned bronze in Rio de Janeiro.

    ‘We are more than athletes’: Canada’s Olympic rugby women open up about representation, Indigenous issues

“A year ago, our team would be sitting here solely talking about the game — and the game is important to us and we are ready for that,” Charity Williams said in a pre-games press conference. “But as we know, we are more than athletes. This is what it looks like when you decolonize your space.”

“I’ve been on this team for eight years and from my experience, I’ve never felt like there is a true place for me here. But sitting here today, I can say I trust my teammates are open to listening and learning,” she added My hope is our team continues a legacy of creating safe and empowering spaces and organizations across Turtle Island and the world,” she added.

Article content

Early Friday morning, ahead of Canada’s placing round game vs. Brazil — the Canadians won 45-0 — Williams responded on social media to Cudmore.

“I wanted to take this moment to talk about our performance and how proud I am of this team beyond any result. Because I am, and what we accomplished this year is far greater than one weekend. What this team stands for and who we have become means that young female athletes across Canada can play their sport and feel safe. I’m proud of that,” Williams said.

“But instead I have to sit here once again and share what we’ve been going through as a team. The consistent hatred we have received from people in our own organization. I’m only sharing because this is what we have been dealing with for months. From private texts, to public stalking online and in person. The bullying and harassment that we have received for coming forward is outrageous & scary at times. This is the reason we called for an internal investigation because we haven’t been safe,” she added. “But still, with everything, we have pushed through tears, pain, & joy, all of it to get us here. It’s not the result we wanted but we worked f—ing hard.

Article content

“Beyond all of that I want to thank those of you who have supported us thus far..we have heard you and we love you. We don’t regret a single moment and the team’s heads are all held high right now. 2 more games that we will be playing for us, the 1794 Indigenous children and counting, all the Black athletes who are only seen as valuable when they are successful and all survivors of abuse whose stories are not trusted 🧡”

Article content

After their loss to France, captain Ghislaine Landry insisted their political stances had not interfered with their preparations.

“We always knew this was about more than rugby, about more than one tournament, even if it’s the Olympics. We knew the last 9 months might put our Olympic dream in jeopardy, we had that discussion as a group, and still the decision was clear. We were ready to put our dreams at risk for change,” she wrote on Instagram.

“This has not been a distraction but it has taken a toll on us. And so, while we are heartbroken not to have been able to play our best, we are proud and united.”

Article content

Friday morning, Cudmore tweeted an apology, saying “it’s was (sic) an emotional event for a good friend I let that get the better of me.”

I would like to apologize for the tweets posted last night. It’s was an emotional event for a good friend and I let that get the better of me. I’ve always played/coached with my heart on my sleeve for this great country 🇨🇦 I’m sorry if I’ve offended anyone.

— Jamie Cudmore (@JNCudmore) July 30, 2021

Article content

Cudmore did not respond to a reporter’s request for comment on his dismissal.

Posted Newsletter logo

NP Posted

Sign up to receive the daily top stories from the National Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.

By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300