The American soccer federation CONCACAF was supposed to take a bite out of the anti-gay chant “puto” at QualComm Stadium on Sunday. Instead, Mexico fans proudly and defiantly chanted the slur more loudly than ever before, according to personal reports by fans sent to Outsports, and confirmed by the Los Angeles Times.
The match featured Mexico and its throngs of homophobic fans taking on El Salvador. Mexico won, 3-1.
CONCACAF made some foolishly minor attempt at curbing the chant with a weak announcement that anyone with a half a brain knew would simply rile the Mexico fans who were champing at the bit to unleash their anti-gay chant on American soil.
Sadly, CONCACAF failed to follow its own written policy on handling discriminatory behavior, which should have resulted in a stoppage of play, a suspension of the match, and then finally canceling the match mid-play all together.
While CONCACAF General Secretary Philippe Moggio said “the chant really is at the forefront in terms of issues we’re addressing,” as reported by Kevin Baxter, the actions by CONCACAF show just how little they are willing to do. If they followed their own policies, they would kill the chant at all matches, or Mexico simply would never complete a match ever again.
Instead, CONCACAF is making it clear that they view the rights and liberty of gay people to be of minor consequence and not deserving of the actions they would take against masses of people chanting racist slurs.
One of the gay people CONCACAF really doesn’t care about was at the match and sent us this report. He asked for anonymity, and you can understand why:
I wore my USA soccer jersey with rainbow numbers that US Soccer sold for Pride month to the match. After having a group of 30 or so Mexico fans coordinate a “puto” chant directly as us in the parking lot, I was afraid to turn around in my seat or look around the stands for fear of making eye contact with the wrong person. Thinking about it makes me particularly emotional because I was attending with tickets I purchased through the San Diego naval base MWR office. I just returned from a trip to visit my husband stationed in the Middle East earlier this year where we constantly had to be vigilant about how we acted toward one another and who was around us. That’s not an experience I ever expected to have in 2017 America, much less California. But that’s the experience I relived again on Sunday.
Posting signs in stadiums isn’t working. Running PSAs on JumboTrons is making matters worse. Statements by national leaders and fines by FIFA are only stirring the pot.
The only effective steps at this point are to follow CURRENTLY WRITTEN POLICY FOR EXACTLY THESE SITUATIONS, and start suspending matches, clearing stadiums and punishing Mexico soccer, and other nations, with “incomplete” matches.
Until then, CONCACAF will be complicit with the chanters in their homophobic bigotry.