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TV networks can stop broadcasting gay slurs at sporting events with this easy solution

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Fans from Mexico continue to chant gay slurs at major sporting events.

Soccer: 2016 Copa America Centenario-Mexico at Uruguay Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Fans in Mexico, and some Mexican fans in the United States, continue to pollute the airwaves with chants of a gay slur during soccer matches. On Monday they took their act to Monday Night Football, chanting “puto” every time the Houston Texans kicked the ball.

Sadly fans in other countries have gotten in on the act. Brazilian fans chanted the slur during Olympic matches, chanting another slur. FIFA has fined various countries for the behavior. It’s not slowing down, it’s growing.

Management at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, where the NFL held its game Monday, say they have no idea how to stop it. Efforts to curb the behavior with announcements only seem to exacerbate the problem. I have advocated that Mexico soccer matches — and the NFL will have to consider this as well — be played in front of empty stadiums. It’s that or continue to subject gay athletes, coaches and fans to these slurs.

It’s now up to the TV networks to ensure American audiences don’t have to hear this grotesque language either way.

The answer is very simple. The fans are predictable. We know that they chant these slurs in soccer matches when the opposing goalie kicks the ball. No one was quite sure when it would happen during Monday Night Football, but the Raiders home crowd quickly made it clear they would spew the chant every time the Houston Texans kicked the ball.

Whether it’s ESPN broadcasting a Monday Night Football game, Fox Sports broadcasting a World Cup game, or anyone else dealing with Mexican fans en masse during a soccer or football match, the network should mute the sound during the offending kick.

Matches are on slight delays. The networks and production teams know when the chanted slur is coming. They can do this. It’s easy.

They do it with swear words. They do it with streakers during sporting events. They can do it here.

ESPN has failed to mute the slurs during several World Cup matches and now Monday Night Football. The network has a good track record on LGBT issues, but ESPN seems tone deaf on this one. While people at the network tell me they are trying to figure out how to fix the problem, the fix is so easy — even in the midst of the production of a live sporting event — that going forward it is inexcusable that they don’t do it.

This behavior by fans isn’t going away. It’s creeping into MLS Cup matches. It is now time for the networks to take a stand and prevent American audiences from having to endure the bigotry. If I hadn’t been writing about the issue during the Monday Night Football game this week, I would have shut the game off. It doesn’t feel good.