Among Mexican premier league soccer teams perhaps the one that generates the most passionate responses from both fans and detractors is the Club América. Based in the southern part of Mexico City, the team is owned by the omnipresent media company Televisa. Its players and followers are sometimes infamous for having a pretentious attitude and feeling like they are better than everyone else. They are sort of the Yankees of Mexican soccer.
So it came as no surprise when the team’s players engaged in yet another controversy, showing little respect for women and almost zero awareness of how pressing it is to acknowledge, denounce and solve the many crimes against women in the country, from sexual assault and harassment to kidnappings, family violence and murder. It is not easy to be a woman in Mexico, and it is an act of courage, but also desperation, to protest as loudly as possible.
So the players from the under-17 team of Club América mocked the feminist performance through which women in France, Spain, Chile, Mexico and many other countries are denouncing the abusive patriarchy.
This dance is called “Un violador en tu camino” (A rapist on your path) and denounces victim blaming while stating, in a very powerful and crude manner, that the real guilt should be placed on rapists. It is not a woman’s fault regardless of what she was wearing or where she was at the time when she was abused. Women from all around the world have made this a viral phenomenon and a symbol of the post #metoo era. To protest like this publicly is a courageous act that should never be minimized or mocked. They are mothers, daughters, friends, girlfriends and sisters of some of the very men who they are protesting against.
So what did the young dudes from the Club América do? They dared to parody the dance. Seriously, WTAF carnalitos? It is never OK to just say “boys will be boys.”
A video which was made viral in Mexican social media shows the young players shirtless in the locker room, parodying the feminist anthem. And even though some might say that boys will be boys, this is in no way justifiable.
Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries for women, with feminicides running rampant not only in the city of Ciudad Juarez, where hundreds of women have been killed since the 1990s, but also in Mexico City and the neighboring State of Mexico, where domestic violence seems to be an everyday crime that most of the times goes unpunished. So no, boys will be boys, will not cut it and the players deserve all the backlash that they received on social media, where women (and men) awarded them with all kinds of insults that stress their discriminatory and harmful actions.
The soccer team published a press release stating that this would not go unpunished.
The team released an official message saying that there needs to be a change and that they would educate players on issues such as gender violence and a correct use of social media. They also stated that the players would be punished, perhaps by leaving them on the bench for a few games. Some of the players have also publicly apologized. Player Omar Lomeli, for example, said that he wasn’t intending to insult the feminist movement and that he would enrol in workshops to understand gender issues. However, it remains to be seen whether this is an isolated incident or if there is indeed, as we would be inclined to suspect, a serious issue of misogyny in the world of sports.
“Locker room talk” is a sign of toxic masculinity in the world of male professional sports.
The locker rooms seem to be a sort of safe space to basically be nasty and express xenophobic, homophobic and incendiary views (we are sure you have read the expression “locker room talk”). The video might just be the tip of the proverbial iceberg, an accidental look into a world in which young men are encouraged to be hypercompetitive and demonstrate their masculinity, as toxic as it might be, on a daily basis. The change has to come from within and a few pep talks won’t do it.
And this is not exclusive of Mexican soccer, for example, other sports leagues, such as the Australian Football League, have faced serious crisis in which their players have expressed appalling world views or engaged in systematic sexual abuse. Let us not forget that historically damaging comments such as “grab them by the pussy” have been dismissed as mere “locker room talk” even in the highest echelons of power. We are all well aware of where a lack of accountability regarding this leads.
Former Uruguayan teammate and friend, Nicolas Lodeiro, told Major League Soccer (MLS) that Barcelona forward Luis Suárez, 32, “wants to come to MLS.” Suárez and Lodeiro are both native to Uruguay and have played alongside each other at Ajax and during international matches like the 2019 Copa América. Lodeiro, who currently plays midfielder for the Seattle Sounders, is hoping Suárez comes to play for the Sounders. It wouldn’t be the first time Suárez speaks with the Sounders General Manager Garth Lagerwey. While Lodeiro and Suárez were together at Copa América this summer, Suárez reportedly overheard Lodeiro get frustrated with his English while on the phone with Lagerway. Suárez grabbed the phone and translated the transfer negotiation that landed Lodeiro in The Emerald City. Now, Lodeiro is hoping Suárez will follow suit.
“Sooner or later he’ll come to MLS. Well, hopefully,” Lodeiro said Thursday. “He likes the league. He’s always asking me things about it. Hopefully, he can also play for Seattle Sounders. It may be a more difficult task. I think it’s only a matter of time before he’s out here.”
The FC Barcelona star’s contract is set to expire in 2021, but it may happen sooner than planned.
The club just spent nearly $150 million on young striker Antoine Griezmann. “It’s not strange if they’re looking for or want to bring in another striker. That’s the reality of football,” Suárez told Ovacion. “It will be better for me because it will place demands on me. It’ll be better for the club because it’ll boost competition,” he told the Uruguay outlet. Suárez has been urging Nou Camp manager Ernesto Valverde to release him from his contract during the January transfer window. The club may want to recoup Suárez’ annual salary to offset the costs of signing Griezmann.
“There will come a time when my age won’t allow me to be at the high level that it is needed for Barcelona,” Suárez added during his Ovacion interview. “It has been five years with the same pressure and I always try to respond in the same way,” he said. “It’s not easy to come to play at a club like this and win your place. You have an exam every three days. There’s no rest and a bad day isn’t forgiven.”
Rumors that Suárez may join America’s Major League Soccer are competing with rumors that he’d play for Argentina.
Credit: @luissuarez9 / Instagram
“He told me maybe he comes in seven years,” Sounders’ manager Lagerwey joked in late 2016. “That was his quote, so maybe that’s when his contract runs out…I told him we’d love to have him whenever he’s ready.” Argentina is certainly vying to claim the superstar for their own. Both Boca Juniors and San Lorenzo are trying to woo Suárez. San Lorenzo’s vice president recently made Suárez a club member and gave him a team shirt. Of course, Suárez could relocate his family back to his home country of Uruguay and play for Nacional.
Basically, everyone wants Suárez to come to play for them, and it’s no wonder why.
Suárez has won 18 trophies during his career.
Of those trophies, six are league titles. It was Suárez who ended Lionel Messi’s six-year streak by winning the 2016 La Liga’s Pichichi Trophy. He’s scored 467 career goals for the various clubs he’s played for and for his country, Uruguay. His career started when he was just 14 years old and started playing for Nacional. By the time he was 19, Groningen bought him from Nacional and he happily moved to the Netherlands. He wanted to be closer to his then-girlfriend and now-wife, Sofía Balbi, who lived in Barcelona. They started dating when Suárez was just 15 years old. They married six years later and now have three children together.
It wouldn’t be the first time Suárez was courted in the middle of a contract.
When Suárez was playing for Ajax, he was placed on a suspension after biting a player, and being dubbed the “Cannibal of Ajax.” During his suspension, Liverpool offered Ajax a $30 million offer, the club’s most expensive signing at that time. Despite a second biting incident, Suárez went onto be named the Player of the Year during the 2013-2014 season. It seems the only reason Suárez would stay with Barcelona is that his wife’s family lives in Barcelona.