FIFA's failure to punish racism & homophobia
What many Americans do not fully understand is the cultural significance and political power that the sport of soccer holds in the large majority of the world.
FIFA will not pursue any action against Mexican fans for chanting 'puto' during World Cup games, saying the word is not a gay slur despite its most egregious definition being "faggot." FIFA had been investigating the chant for the last week.
Debate arose last week after Outsports ran a story about the use of the word, which is chanted when the opposing team's goalie has the ball. Mexico's own National Council to Prevent Discrimination has already labeled it a slur and condemned its usage. Yet FIFA has determined it is not a slur. Some have defended the use of the word, saying in that "context" it only means "manwhore" and not "faggot." Either way, it's hardly language that should be used in what should be a friendly environment.
What is interesting about FIFA's decision is that chooses one definition of the word over another. There are clearly many people, including gay and straight people, who view it as a slur. FIFA has assigned intent behind the word and invalidated the perspective of those who see it as a slur. It will be interesting to see what ESPN and Univision do with the chants today.
For what it's worth, Mexican actor Diego Luna has also spoken out against the chant.
"Soccer is a reflection of what we are in many ways," he said. "We live in a classist, racist, homophobic society into which we are very assimilated, that's all. I'm not really proud of that."
Doesn't sound like that word is some innocuous term to many people, including those in Mexico. Ten years from now we will all look back at this kind of thing and shake our heads.