by G.D. Morrill
Something must be said about a behavior that Mexicans, here, and where ever Mexicans play in the world, attended by large numbers of Mexican fans of their country’s league soccer, or their Mexican national men’s soccer team’s games. Whenever the Mexicans lose the ball over the opponent’s end line, and the opponent’s goalie places the ball on the edge of the small goal area within the penalty area, and the goalie kicks the ball out to midfield or beyond, the majority of Mexican fans whirl their out stretched arms and wiggle their hands and yell “PUTO”.
Puto is a gay slur in Mexico. It is vulgar, coarse, and a word which in normal Mexican society, would not be heard. It might be said between crude and discriminatory friends when slighting a gay man walking down the street, but nothing any conscientious adult would ever say in polite society or in front of children. But in a soccer game, where there are thousands of women and children, and god knows, some gay people, they feel that it’s OK to yell this awful, degenerate comment in front of both.
Before a recent America Cup game on TV, there was a long warning printed on the screen where the network said to those watching the game that they were not responsible for the anti-gay slur which the Mexican fans would say when the opposing goalie kicks a goal kick. I know some professional Mexicans, who feel that this is the funniest thing they’ve ever heard or participated in, and cannot for the life of them understand how disgusting this behavior is to the rest of the world.
It’s gone on for years now, and shows no sign of subsiding. FIFA, the international organization which is the authority over all soccer federations all over the world has condemned the practice, but shows no sign of doing anything about it. However, they did fine the Spanish soccer federation a few years ago when Spanish fans threw bananas and made monkey sounds when black soccer players on the opponent’s team were on the field.
For the life of me, I cannot understand their reluctance or refusal to punish Mexicans who participate in this low class behavior. Personally, I would have an announcement at the beginning of the game and warn Mexican fans that those who participated in this behavior would risk their team forfeiting the game. And if only a few did it, they should be identified and removed from the game.
I believe that this would eliminate this hateful, gleeful, on their part, behavior. If Mexican fans cannot be shamed enough to stop it, they should suffer the consequences of their continued disrespectful, and discriminatory behavior.