May 31, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; A Mexico fan holds up a flag in the stands in the game against Ecuador during a soccer friendly at AT&T Stadium. Mexico defeated Ecuador 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Are Mexican World Cup fans chanting a gay slur?

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Mexican soccer fans are known to be a tough crowd.  If you aren’t a soccer fan you can think of them as the twelfth man of international soccer.  Playing a game in the Estadio Azteca is not on the to do list of any team, and much of that is because of a passionate fanbase.

Mexican World Cup fans often chant the word “Puto” at opposing goalkeepers.  

Puto can be used in many ways, one of which is as a gay slur.  This has caused FIFA to open an investigation into the use of the word by the fans.  More than likely nothing was going to come of this investigation and Mexico was simply going to get a warning, then Miguel Herrera got involved.

I think most people would agree that punishing a team for the behavior of fans is hard to do.  Herrera made it clear though that not only does the team condone it, the team encourages it.  Herrera said  “We’re with our fans.  It’s something we do to pressure the opposing goalkeeper.”   Well he managed to squash any qualms about punishing a team for fan behavior anyone may have had didn’t he?

Mexican fans main argument is that they aren’t using puto as a gay slur, they are using it to mean coward.  This is tantamount to a U.S. fan calling someone gay and then claiming he meant happy. Sure, it’s a possible explanation, but it’s a bit of a stretch.  Another rationalization is that they are saying “puto” to mean “man whore.”  OK, well that’s not a gay slur I guess, but it is unbelievably inappropriate for an international sporting event being watched by people of all ages and genders.  Also, the fact that when you search the word “coward” in Google translate it gives you about 10 possible choices, none of which are “puto.”

Keeping in mind that this is the same fanbase that booed and yelled “Osama” during the U.S. national anthem, it’s really hard for me to take them at their word that this is an innocent misunderstanding.  This is the fanbase that threw jars of urine at Landon Donovan, these are the LSU fans of soccer fans.

I get defending your fanbase and nation when you feel they are being criticized, but if you find yourself having to do it over and over again maybe a more productive course of action would be to try to change the ugly culture prevalent in your fandom.

It’s easy to say this is a racial issue or an issue of not understanding another culture, but that’s such a cop out.  I’m all for respecting other cultures, do you really want to claim all this ugliness is just part of your culture?

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Tags: Miguel Herrera Puto World Cup World Cup News

  • cotoman

    I’m mexican and I can say that PUTO is used only to reffer to gays or cowards and not a “man hooker”,

    Homofobia is not at increase but high decrease in Mexico. And I can say that Mexico is as good country for gays than any west european or the USA progressive cities, there are not hate crimes in Mexico since decades.

    But what I agree is that the fan base is just a piece of shit, the worst kind of mexicans. They are mainly criminals that can affords such trips, sons of politicians and corrupt enteprenurs that make bussiness with the goverment stealing from taxpayers.

    Only some 5% of them are truly legitimate bussiness mans that can afford the trip.

    The proof of that is that mexican crowds have no money and no passports, they cant afford it.

    Just take a look to the idiot that jumped from the cruise and died. He was the son of the attorney general of Chiapas traveling with many politicians (including Felipe Calderon the former drunk president) in a huge ship hired privaletly by politicians.

    Futbol is a smoke screen in Mexico to cover the crap we face every day anyway

    • Bandit

      You make some great points. Cheers.

    • Alberto

      Are you kidding me ? Idk what kind of Mexican you are but any Mexican either from Mexico or the USA knows damn well this word has nothing to do with gays. Not one damn bit . There’s a word for gays and that is Maricon. If your Mexican you know the very well. Puto is only used as a way to call someone a pussy or coward. And in the Mexico games it’s used to intimidate the opposing keeper. Idk why all of a sudden it’s a big deal. Your basically saying that all the Mexico fans who participate I’n this are basically garbage. Low life’s and criminals? Do you know how many of those fans not only came from Mexico but also from the u.s? Your and complete idiot to say that a middle class Mexican cannot afford a way to there. Man even those who don’t have much saved for this trip. Believe me I know. Your so ignorant it just disgust me. I seriously don’t believe your Mexican and if you are well your very ignorant. Idk see why it’s matter what a couple of pussy think . The players don’t complain and obviously they don’t care either . same with the coaches. This is nothing like calling players monkey or apes. Thats a damn slur. That’s racist. Calling someone a coward and hoping it affect his game is way different. And it’s brings he fans together dammit. Look at the Brazil and mexico game, they were both saying puto and yet still doing the wave together and over all enjoying themselves . This is just being made to seem bigger than it really is. And people like you who don’t know their shit should keep there opinion to themselves.

  • Omar Irvin

    Lol that’s hilarious, it means what it means and I guarantee you Mexican fans aren’t going to stop just cuz it hurts peoples feelings. No Sean puuuutoooos

  • Carlos

    DEAR CHARLES EVANS: This is indeed hilarious, in Mexico it is a regular/normal/no-harm-done/silly way to “intimidate” the opposing goal-keeper in a football game (soccer for you). In Mexico (the ignorance reflected about Mexican idiosyncrasy suggests that you don´t even know where it is in the map) The word “puto” has nothing to do with the racial/discriminatory crap that is a curse in other countries. Back in Mexico the FIFA warning has been taken as an ignorant approach to what the word really means, and can´t stop making fun and making jokes about it. An insider example to the uses of the word is this: Between close friends in an informal environment we greet to each other with a phrase like this: “¿Que onda PUTO?” with a funny connotation..which means or is equivalent to something like “What’s up bitch”…no harm done…Of course other countries (and yourself) seem to have deep traumas with racism and discrimination, this case is way far from that. PLEASE DON´T TALK ABOUT IDIOSYNCRASY ABOUT A SPORT AND A COUNTRY YOU DON´T KNOW AND CLEARLY YOU DON´T LIKE AND OF COURSE DON´T UNDERSTAND.

  • Oh Mighty Isis

    I’m from Puerto Rico and the word Puto(a) means bitch, or prostitute. Is it worthy of FIFA’s time to investigate? Mexico soccer fan and actor Diego Luna thinks so. I don’t think so unless the unionized prostitutes of the world are truly outraged. We have to remember we are all Hispanic and speak Spanish, but the meanings of words are not always the same. The classy thing would be just to apologize and promise not to use the word again. I know this won’t stop the fans from saying bad words to opposing players but why not try pendejo. You can make it a chant! PEN-DE-JO. I think it makes a better chant then puto(a) and you don’t run the risk of offending anyone…unless we have a unionized group of stupid ass I don’t know about.