During Mexico’s matches at the Gold Cup, the regional championship soccer tournament being played across the United States this month, Mexican fans have been chanting the word “puto,” typically a slur used in Mexico to mock gay men. The chant has become routine at Mexican national team soccer matches, and officials and many fans are embarrassed by the vulgarity and homophobic innuendo. Soccer officials of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) have warned and fined Mexico eight times already, but the chant survives. Gold Cup Tournament organizers asked players to read a pledge urging fans to set a civil a example for children. Security officials were authorized to eject fans who shouted it. They even installed a technical device to block the chant from being audible in TV broadcasts.
Never mind. Fans are still bellowing the anti-gay slur at opposing teams and players, maybe more enthusiastically than ever. What’s a soccer federation to so?
For the Confederations Cup in Russia last month, the FIFA tried to get tough and announced a three-step program to discourage the chant. The first response to “Puuuuut000o!” was a public address announcement at the stadium, warning fans to stop or else. If the chant continues, which it will and did, the referees can stop the match until the chants subside. That won’t work either. I know fans. They will think that letting the game start and then having to be halted again because of what someone yells is hilarious. Finally, if all else failed, the referee can go nuclear and stop the match completely, sending everyone home. Continue reading