“The offensive goal kick chant will not be tolerated.” That’s the message the Los Angeles Football Club and GLAAD are sending LAFC fans for the 2019 season, in conjunction with the 3252 Independent Supporters Union.
Here we go again.
As Outsports reported last year, fans sent the anti-gay “puto” chant ringing through Banc of California throughout their team’s November 2018 playoff match against Real Salt Lake. LAFC lost, 3-2, and was eliminated from the playoffs in front of its home team crowd.
According to Julia Poe, a freelance writer who covered that 2018 match for Pro Soccer USA, fans in the south end of the stadium chanted the slur at least 10 times throughout the match. Poe said it was chanted several times by about half of the stadium, and Poe estimated that about 80% of the fans chanted the slur around the 80th minute of the match.
This same exact anti-gay chant happened in LAFC’s inaugural home game at the start of 2018, and everyone was assured it wouldn’t happen again. As Cyd Zeigler wrote last fall: “Of course, it did. It always does.”
With the dawn of the 2019 season, the LAFC is partnering up to once again to try to stop homophobia.
“Last season, we were disappointed and upset that the chant resurfaced at our stadium,” said Tom Penn, LAFC President and Co-Owner, and Jimmy Lopez, president of the 3252 union, in a joint statement.
“Whenever this chant occurred, LGBTQ and ally fans were made to feel less than,” added GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
So GLAAD joined forces with Penn and Lopez, to actively discourage the shouting of the “puto” slur, which soccer fans have yelled during goal kicks at stadiums throughout the world for years. The goal is to make every home game this season “an inclusive, welcoming and safe experience for fans,” the club said in a joint statement.
LAFC kicked off the effort at last weekend’s home opener, with a video played before the match.
LAFC already goes well beyond other sports teams in displaying its acceptance, with rainbow flags and a warning to eject any fan chanting slurs or engaged in homophobic behavior.
As always, we’ll be watching to see if this latest crackdown has any effect at all. LAFC defeated Sporting Kansas City 2-1 Saturday to start its second season.