In Mexico’s 2-1 win over New Zealand Wednesday at the Confederations Cup in Sochi, Russia, a strange but welcome thing happened — Mexico’s fans did not chant the gay slur “puto” during the game.
From Sports Illustrated:
Fans in Sochi took heed of Mexico's plea and acted accordingly. They applauded during New Zealand kicks, they remained silent and they chanted "Mexico!" instead in a refreshing deviation from the norm. The infamous "P word" was nowhere to be heard. (The "MF" word, however, was there for all to hear and see after [Meixcan coach Juan Carlos] Osorio unleashed a tantrum on New Zealand manager Anthony Hudson following a controversial moment in the first half.)
It's one game, thousands of miles from Mexico, and there's no guarantee that fans will universally accept abolishing the chant from Mexico games. Wednesday was a step in the right direction, though, and it's a testament to the commitment of Mexico's federation and El Tri fans on site for carrying out the change.
Fans on Twitter also noticed:
Mexico stopped yelling puto at the keeper and now they're clapping at him— El Compa Sebas (@NotSimplySebas) June 21, 2017
This is the first time I've ever heard silence and not "PUTO !" While watching a Mexico game. I'm really proud of us :')— Vaneezy (@vahhnessahh_) June 21, 2017
Of course, there were numerous comments from fans offended that they could no longer chant the slur during New Zealand goalie kicks. Despite all evidence, they insist “puto” is not a gay slur (it is).
Two things combined to make the New Zealand game a “puto-free” game. First, soccer’s governing body FIFA warned Mexico about using the slur after it was shouted Sunday against Portugal. A warning was the first step in the three-point plan to stop the slur.
“According to the new three-step program, after a warning is issued, if the chants continue, the referee can stop the match until they subside. If the offensive behavior doesn’t stop, the referee can then take the third step and suspend the match indefinitely,” Remezcla reports.
In light of the warning, Mexico’s soccer federation issued a plea to fans: “As you know, FIFA takes very seriously the chant we do when the goalkeeper clears and the possible sanctions are serious. If we continue with this behavior, the effort on the field will not work if we lose the game, if they suspend the game or if they expel you from the stadium; we lose, you lose, we all lose. Because we know that you are unconditional, we trust in you, we know that together we will change history.”
The only things that will stop this is to kick out offending fans, with the ultimate step to suspend the game. I don’t expect the fans to stop the chant for a non-tournament game. Many are defiant and are claiming some bogus cultural right to slur a group of people. Thankfully, it stopped for one game.