Update: CBS used crowd noise to mask the chanting of a gay slur during New England Patriots kicks in Mexico on Sunday. While the slur may have been identifiable on one of the kicks, CBS did a really good job of masking the slur. Other networks have taken no action during their broadcasting of these slurs, and CBS just set the new industry standard that every other network broadcasting sporting events from Mexico will need to follow.
Outsports worked with GLAAD to push the issue with CBS and the NFL, and the good people at those two entities responded with an effective answer to this problem. Outsports thanks everyone who helped prevent the broadcasting of gay slurs in American households today.
Fans in Mexico, where the game will be played, will chant gay slurs during scrimmage kick and free kick attempts by the Patriots. Mexico soccer fans chant the slur during opposing team’s goal kicks, and as the Raiders are the “home” team on Sunday, they will do it during Patriots’ kicks.
Whether CBS broadcasts these slurs on American airwaves is up to them.
Last year ESPN claimed it was caught flat-footed when Outsports reached a network spokesperson in the first half of the Raiders-Texans game also broadcast from Mexico. We complained that the network’s broadcast took no action to mute the chanted slur. During that game, ESPN broadcast in full audio as the crowd chanted the gay slur “puto” on multiple occasions during Houston Texans kick attempts.
This time around, CBS cannot claim to be unaware of the impending actions by Mexico fans.
Mexico fans have not only previously chanted the gay slur repeatedly during last year’s NFL game in Mexico City, but FIFA has been forced to fine Mexico for every single World Cup qualifier the country hosted due to the chant. Various other countries in South and Central America have been fined by FIFA for the slur.
The NFL has already been working with Estadio Azteca management for the game to curb the slurs. Their plan includes public-address notifications about the slur, despite evidence that these public announcements only serve to fuel to the chants. Still, the league is trying.
Hopefully the stadium management will use human monitors to watch the chants and eject all fans caught using the slur. That is likely the only action that will have any material effect (before organizations like FIFA force matches in Mexico to be played in front of empty stadiums).
The push to stop the slur has not only come from outside the country. The Federation of Mexican Soccer has started begging its fans to cease the behavior. Mexican LGBT rights organization Colectivo Sol has made it clear the term is offensive. Univision has labeled the term a slur.
Outsports has been in contact with GLAAD this week. The LGBTQ media advocacy organization has made CBS aware of the impending chant.
Now CBS will have to make its choice. Will the network broadcast the slur into every American household on Sunday? Or will the production crew mute the stadium microphones during scrimmage kicks and free kicks by the Patriots (and any other chanting pattern that develops during the game)?
If CBS broadcasts the slurs during the game, they will have done so willfully and with plenty of notice to take corrective actions. Hopefully the executives and production staff with CBS Sports will make the inclusive choice.