soccer stadium
soccer stadium pixabay

Any sports fan can attest to just how heated fans can get during live games. It is not uncommon for fans to yell out jeers to their team's opponents, in a feeble attempt to distract the players. And while stadium officials attempt to keep everyone in order, it is difficult to quiet a crowd of hundreds once they get going. Though these types of chants are expected, the nature of what is being said can possibly cause some serious consequences for sports teams.

That was the scenario that played out in a recent soccer match between Team USA and Mexico. The teams faced off in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Nations League, on June 15th, in Allegiant Stadium, in Las Vegas. The match was extremely combative, with the victory ultimately going to Team USA, with a 3-0 win.

As expected, Mexico fans were not content with their team losing. And during the match, they decided to express that discontent by shouting a homophobic chant. The slur that was being vocalized was "puto," a phrase commonly used in Latin America to demean male athletes.

soccer ball
soccer ball in grass pixabay

The phrase itself is a point of contention for many Latinos. While it is defined as a derogatory term used to describe a man that engages in sexual activity with another man, in Mexican Spanish, it has also been commonly used as another word for "bastard" or to describe someone as weak. "Puto" is normally shouted towards male athletes to insult and distract them.

Because this expression has been commonly used for decades, in and out of sporting events, it's no wonder why soccer fans do not recognize the negative impact their chants can have. But consequences for these chants may soon be coming.

Mexico went on to win bronze in their match against Panama in the CONCACAF Nations League and are still slated to host FIFA World Cup matches in 2026. However, soccer fans are calling for the team to face repercussions to atone for their fans behavior.

Mexico can face not just fines and penalties for their fans chanting this slur, but in the harshest scenario, FIFA could move the World Cup to a different location. As of right now, there is no official statement regarding whether the team will face any consequences, but public outcry is still prevalent, online.

As Latinos, it is very common for many of us to accept our behaviors as something that is just "part of our culture." However, we are currently living in a generation that is rightly calling out toxic behaviors and pushing for needed change.

Just because we grew up shouting a homophobic slur, or even singing a racist song, it does not mean that we cannot now recognize the wrong in our actions and change them. Something so trivial is actually incredibly imperative in further evolving our language to no longer be discriminatory.

There are a million and one phrases that can be shouted at a soccer match to insult the other team. And our favorite teams should not have to face consequences for it. It's time to retire this slur and just move on from it.

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