Why Do Mexico’s Football Fans Keep Going Unpunished For Shouting Homophobic Slurs At Opposing Players
If you’ve ever been to a sports match, it’s pretty likely you’ll encounter some serious macho behavior from fans and players alike.
Things are typically no different at soccer games – even world-class events like the World Cup or the Copa Americana – where homophobic slurs are often used to taunt opposing teams.
Unfortunately, that was again the case at this weekend’s Copa Ora game between Mexico and Cuba.
It’s an all too familiar scene at soccer matches, but espeically at those where Mexican futbol fans go. It starts with the building chant of “Eeeehhhhhh” and ends with the homophobic punctuation of “puto.”
On Saturday both the Rose Bowl and Concacaf allowed the anti-gay and homophobic “puto” chant to descend on the crowd as many as 50 times, according to video and people on Twitter.
The response by both Concacaf and the stadium to try to stop the chant were designed to fail and simply pay lip service to people trying to stop the discriminatory behavior.
The chant during Mexico’s 7-0 routing of Cuba was widespread, very loud and involved a huge number of people in the stands.
For many fans it was alarming.
Here, on international television and in front of some 65,000 people, was an anti-gay slur, the Spanish equivalent of “faggot,” being hurled in unison by hundreds of fans at an opposing goalkeeper.
Yet in many ways, it was routine and perhaps even easy to ignore.
After all, authorities did just that for years, as the taunt spread from Mexican club games to the national team last decade. It soon became a community staple, a rite of passage for match-going fans, a so-called tradition that follows the Mexican team almost everywhere it goes.
Just last year at the World Cup in Russia, global soccer’s governing body opened disciplinary proceedings after the chant accompanied German goal kicks during Mexico’s World Cup opener. FIFA not only fined the Mexican federation but threatened more sanctions. It also promised to revoke Fan IDs – essentially tickets – and eject anybody caught yelling the slur.
The “puto” chant is anti-gay and is designed to belittle opposing male players by likening them to prostitutes and women.
The chant is, at its core, indisputably anti-gay and FIFA itself has labeled the chant discriminatory.
Yet soccer organizations allow the chant to persist, negatively affecting LGBTQ fans, players and coaches.
Some on Twitter didn’t mince words in their reaction to Mexico’s fans.
A lot of fans took to Twitter to express their anger and embarrassment at their own team for continuing to act in such a hurtful and childish way.
While a very small minority to continue to claim that the word has zero homophobic meaning.
While some pointed out the inconsistency between different leagues.
Because apparently any homophobic slurs are completely banned at Los Angeles Football Club matches but the Rose Bowl Stadium doesn’t have a similar ban.
One Twitter user even tweeted a potential solution – at least for those watching the game on TV.
I mean muting the very moment when the chant is about to happen is one way to shield viewers from the blatant homophobia…
Or, I mean, fans could just stop.