Chants of the anti-gay slur “puto,” marred the otherwise stellar debut of the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) on Sunday.
Much of Sunday’s game went scoreless as the LAFC took on the Seattle Sounders in front of a stadium full of enthusiastic fans. But ultimately, LA got its one goal to clinch the game 1-0, MLS Soccer reported.
The debut game at Banc of California Stadium was festive and well attended. Actor Will Ferrell, a co-owner of the LAFC, was on hand for the debut, the first of a sold out season. But, unfortunately, along with the glut of new fans, many of who are of Mexican heritage, also came the homophobic chant of “puto” during the game.
According to multiple reports, LAFC’s fans directed the slur towards Seattle’s goalkeeper. According to Mediotiempo, MLS Commissioner Don Gerber excoriated the fans for the chant.
“That should not happen, and it will stop, we are not only surprised by it, that goes against everything we promote, but we have a lot of faith in the group of fans, we already talk to the owners and we trust that will not continue,” Garber said at halftime.
But when Garber was asked if LAFC might face any consequences for the chant, the U.S. soccer chief demurred from speculation.
“Let’s just stop it, and then if we can’t stop it we’ll figure it out,” Garber replied.
The homophobic chant is also a stain on Los Angeles, a city which prides itself on its tolerance and inclusiveness towards LGBT people. The incident looks especially bad for Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has spent his time as mayor, working to incorporate as much of the LGBT agenda as possible. Even going so far as to create a Transgender Advisory Council in 2016.
Garcetti also spent months trying to convince FIFA that Los Angeles would be an ideal place for the World Cup, based largely on the city’s openness and tolerance.
The question of whether discipline would follow for LAFC, because of the chant, is an obvious one. The Mexican national team was fined $20,000 by the international soccer agency, FIFA, for its repeated use of the homophobic slur.
Still, many fans on Twitter launched into the LAFC fans who indulged the hateful chant:
Since it apparently needs repeating, I'll be crystal clear here. Again. Any fanbase, SG, or organization that tolerates, embraces, or spews the homophobic "puto" chant deserves 100% of the disdain it receives. Way to start at the bottom, @LAFC. #LAFCvSEA
— Tom Biro (@tombiro) April 30, 2018
— Ken Oplinger (@KenOplinger) April 30, 2018
— Andrew M. Laird (@RotoWireAndrew) April 30, 2018
This chant has a long, unfortunate pedigree in Mexican soccer. In fact, some Mexican officials have even defended the chant even as FIFA has worked to eliminate its use.
Despite FIFA’s efforts, Mexican fans seem unwilling to stop using the chant. Last year U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan was subjected to the chant and last November, CBS had to use sound effects to drown out the chant during a broadcast of a game from Mexico City.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.