Mexican Soccer Fans Accused Of Bringing Back Banned Homophobic Chant At Gold Cup

Mexican fans claim the word is slang for 'coward,' FIFA claims otherwise.

Fans celebrate a goal by Mexico in the second half of the game against Cuba at the Rose Bowl on June 15, 2019 in Pasadena, California
Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images

Mexican fans claim the word is slang for 'coward,' FIFA claims otherwise.

Mexican soccer fans watching the CONCACAF Gold Cup are accused of bringing back a chant that FIFA claims is homophobic and has been banned, Yahoo Sports reports.

Ugly fan behavior has bedeviled soccer for decades, international soccer in particular. Over in France, the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup has, fortunately, been devoid of any ugly fan incidents worthy of making the news — at least, so far. Half a world away, however, a men’s tournament is taking place, and the same can’t be said here.

On Saturday, Mexico opened up its run for the CONCACAF Gold Cup against Cuba in front of a packed Rose Bowl in Pasadena. And sure enough, at multiple points during the game, the Mexican fans could be heard chanting a slur that FIFA says is homophobic.

The word in question is “puto,” and what it means depends largely on whom you ask. Even within the same language, different words have different meanings across different cultures, and this is especially true of slang, invectives, and colloquialisms. In Mexican Spanish, “puto” can be the male equivalent of the word “b***h,” or, as Mexican soccer fans claim, it means “coward.” FIFA, however, claims it’s homophobic, the Spanish equivalent of “f****t.”

Back in 2018, when the FIFA Men’s World Cup was being played in Russia, FIFA officials banned the chant, as reported at the time by The Inquisitr. That seemed to have worked, as Mexico’s fans stopped using the chant — at least, for a time.

Now it’s back.

Mixed Messages

FIFA has been adamant that the chant must not be used, notwithstanding Mexican fans’ claims that it’s not a homophobic slur. However, the message Mexican fans have been getting from other entities with an iron in this fire has been decidedly mixed.

The team, for what it’s worth, has consistently tried to discourage fans from using the chant. For example, in a tweet, the team pleaded with fans, “No Grites Puto!” (“Don’t Shout ‘Puto’!”). However, the tweet has drawn criticism for encouraging fans not to use the word not because it’s purportedly homophobic, but because doing so will get their rights to purchase tickets revoked.

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Similarly, at least two Mexican players have discouraged fans from using the chant, and not unlike the federation’s tweet, their statements don’t actually address the issue of the chant being purportedly homophobic. “Let’s not risk another sanction,” Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez said, for example.

Meanwhile, Yahoo Sports writer Henry Bushnell says that neither Mexico’s soccer federation nor CONCACAF (the organization that manages international soccer in North America and the Caribbean) has done anything substantive to stop the chant.