Mexican Soccer Fans Claim Homophobic Chant is Harmless
There are perhaps no more fervent sports fans than those who live, eat and breathe soccer, one of the world’s most popular sports. And that certainly holds true for Mexican soccer fans. But their “enthusiasm” has cost the Mexican Soccer Federation thousands of dollars at least eight times in recent months for using their favorite homophobic chant during some World Cup qualifying matches. And it happened again at a recent World Cup qualifier in Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca in front of a crowd of more than 80,000.
The chant begins when the opposing goalie picks up the ball to punt it. Starting with an “Eehhh” that’s stretched out and grows in volume, when the ball is kicked, the crowd shouts “puto!” Roughly translated, it means a male prostitute, a derogatory term for gay men that’s been used in Mexico for a long time. Soccer fans claim it isn’t anti-gay, saying that it has other meanings like “coward,” and when used between friends it can be interpreted as “dude.”
In spite of all the fines, the public service announcements by elite players pleading with fans to stop, even heavy sanctions that could hurt the team’s chances in the World Cup, it seems fans are unwilling to quit because they say it’s not offensive. Yet critics of the chant note it’s unlikely fans are screaming “dude” at their opposing teams. It’s believed the chant began about 15 years ago in the country’s national soccer league when fans from one team felt betrayed when their former goalkeeper joined another club.
FIFA, international soccer’s governing body began to take note of this behavior after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil where the chant was always present. At the time, Mexico’s team coach Miguel Herrera joked that it was an ancient Aztec word meaning “force a bad punt from the goalkeeper.” Now, prior to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, FIFA is taking no prisoners. They are using video messages in the stadiums and loud speaker announcements telling fans not to use the phrase. If they continue, referees will have the ability to suspend a match or even end a game completely.
That seems to have gotten fans’ attention for now. During Mexico’s recent match against Portugal fans were screaming the chant and Mexico was given a formal warning. Three days later during Mexico’s match against New Zealand, fans instead shouted “Mexico” to the praise of authorities and global gay rights activists.
But one fan, Fernando Sánchez was doubtful Mexican fans will quit using the chant. “If it was actually offensive,” he said, “we would stop.” Maybe fans were too busy watching soccer to learn a little thing like the Golden Rule that says you treat others the way you’d like to be treated.
Congratulations to Officer Crystal Griner for her Heroism
Congratulations go to Capitol Police special agent Crystal Griner who was shot in the ankle while protecting Republican lawmakers during a recent shooting. The incident occurred at a field in Alexandria, Virginia where lawmakers were practicing for a charity baseball game. Working as part of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s security detail, Griner kept returning fire even after she was hit.
A standout basketball and softball player in high school, Griner played two years of college basketball for her alma mater, Hood College. Scott Robinson, her former high school coach wasn’t surprised by her courage under fire. “She put it all on the line as a player, just like she put her life on the line protecting others,” he said. “She was mentally and physically tough as a player. And those qualities are why she’s now a hero.”
A lesbian, Griner is married to Tiffany Gyar and President Trump and First Lady Melania visited Griner and her wife in the hospital following the shooting. Many are hoping that Scalise, who doesn’t support same-sex marriage, will rethink his stand on the subject following this incident.
NBA Has Pride Float in NY Pride for Second Year
The NBA showed up at this year’s New York City Pride with a float for the second year in a row. In addition to commissioner Adam Silver, others riding the float included Jason Collins, the league’s first openly gay active player, and Rick Welts, president of the Golden State Warriors and his partner Todd Gage. Referee Bill Kennedy was also there. He came out in 2015 following an incident where Rajon Rondo, then of the Sacramento Kings, referred to Kennedy using a gay slur.
Given this display of support, there are many people still disappointed in the NBA’s decision to return the All-Star Game to Charlotte in 2019 following the alleged repeal of HB2 (bathroom bill). They see the league’s support of the LGBTQ community as less than solid since the new HB 142 is viewed as equally discriminating against the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender individuals.
But Silver noted that the Hornets are located in Charlotte and the league wants to ensure that the LGBTQ community can feel protected in the state. “I know I speak on behalf of our owners, our teams and our players,” he said. “I think they all feel very strongly that this is a core principle of our league, and that where we choose to celebrate something like an All-Star Game, that those values should be honored.”
Mountain Climber Makes Historic Climb
In what has been described as “the moon landing of free-soloing,” mountain climber Alex Honnold made history last month when he became the first person to scale the face of Yosemite’s El Capitan without ropes or safety gear. This is known in the mountaineering community as free-soloing.
Even more incredible, the 31-year-old elite climber scaled the almost 3,000-foot face of the granite formation in under four hours. Covered by National Geographic (Nat Geo), Honnold’s ascent had zero margin for error. His ability to control his fear in situations like this is so strong that neuroscientists have studied parts of his brain, according to Nat Geo.
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