‘Keep your English’: Alouettes’ Marc-Antoine Dequoy displays Francophone pride in viral postgame rant

Photo: Bob Butrym/3DownNation. All rights reserved

Montreal Alouettes’ defensive back Marc-Antoine Dequoy has gone viral for an epic postgame rant that followed his team’s 28-24 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 110th Grey Cup in Hamilton.

“They never believed in us, man. You look everywhere, it’s written in English. You checked TSN, it was written Toronto versus Winnipeg. You come here and they only speak English. They never believed in us! But you know what, man? Keep your English, because we’re taking the Cup. We’ll take it back to Montreal, we’ll take it back to Quebec, and we will lift it at home. Because we are the f***ing champions!” he told RDS.

“It’s the dream of a lifetime, man. It’s the f***ing dream of a lifetime to win the Grey Cup. Thank you to everyone. I don’t know what to say. Thank you to everyone.”

The 29-year-old wasn’t happy that the signage at Tim Hortons Field was almost exclusively English, which was a subject of criticism during the week leading up to the game. Two LCF logos were added to the field before game time, while some of the electronic signage displayed messages in English and French while the contest was underway.

“Honestly, after a victory like that, you understand where I’m coming from. For someone who watched the Alouettes growing up, it was a childhood dream. After a victory like that, the emotions that overtake you are so large. The reality is the CFL is a bilingual game, Canada is a bilingual country and I found there was a little lack of respect for the French language over the course of the week, certainly in Toronto,” he told RDS on Monday.

“If you look at the game that we played in Toronto, the national anthem was only in English. For me, that message was just about me saying you can keep the English language, it had nothing to do with Anglophones. In fact, I speak in English every day of my life, football is anglophone. Even I use many anglicisms. Anyone who knows me understands that there was no malice there, there was nothing bad in it, it was simply the emotion that carried me. You can really just see a young man happy to be celebrating.”

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie was asked during his State of the League address about why O Canada was sung exclusively in English ahead of the East Final and he indicated the singer wasn’t capable of performing it in both languages. He also committed to ensuring the mistake wouldn’t be repeated again in the future.

“We have tremendous respect for our French language colleagues, we have tremendous respect for our French language fans,” said Ambrosie. “We need to evaluate those processes to make sure that the person who’s going to be singing the anthem is capable of singing in both languages. Fundamentally, we want to be respectful to our partners in Quebec, to our Montreal Alouettes partners, and we want to be respectful to our French language fans.”

Dequoy played U Sports football for the Université de Montréal Carabins with whom he was named a first-team All-Canadian in 2019. He was selected in the second round of the 2020 CFL Draft but didn’t join the Alouettes until the following year after initially signing a contract with the Green Bay Packers.

The Montreal native was named the East Division’s nominee for Most Outstanding Canadian, though he lost the award at the league level to Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ running back Brady Oliveira. He made only one tackle in the Grey Cup but helped his team qualify for the game with a huge play in the East Final, recording a pick-six off Chad Kelly.