United States soccer team goalkeeper Brad Guzan was taunted with gay slurs, yelled by Mexican fans as the World Cup qualifier game started in Mexico City on Sunday night, reports say.
Guzan is the latest foreign goalkeeper faced with the Mexican chant of “puto” when team Mexico takes a goal kick. By some translations, the word means “gay prostitute,” according to USA Today
The world’s governing body of international soccer, FIFA, has fined the Mexican team several times for the gay slur, but fans and even some Mexican officials are adamant that they won’t stop shouting the insult. Fines thus far have reached over $105,000.
FIFA even tried to launch a initiative to urge fans to quit using the derogatory term. An electronic sign flashed a message during the game urging fans to stop the chant.
“Chanting ‘puto’ does not make you more Mexican,” the sign read. “Help us to avoid sanctions. Join us.”
Unfortunately for FIFA’s attempt to excise the homophobic slur from Mexican soccer, it has become a stubborn tradition among Mexican soccer fans.
To make it even harder to eliminate the chant, even some Mexican officials have denounced FIFA’s attempt to ban the slur.
The Mexican federation, for instance, insists that the chant is not an anti-gay slur and that calling it such is a misreading of Mexican culture.
“It’s an issue that requires more discussion, it is a chant that occurs in games and not just recently,” Mexican soccer general secretary Guillermo Cantu told ESPN Deportes last year.
“We will fight the sanction because we don’t agree with the connotation that FIFA has given the chant,” Cantu added. “We will try to explain to them that the chant in Mexico is not done for the purpose that FIFA has interpreted.”
Mexico has appealed the earlier rulings, and will likely appeal many more as the argument over the phrase rages.
The slur also seems to be spreading in the U.S. as well, as soccer grows in stature here. Several years ago teams in Sacramento, California, battled to get fans to stop chanting the slur during games.
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