Throughout time, for better or worse, the Western society has evolved. We now find as hideous things that before went unnoticed by many or were normal for others. These days it has become trendy to defend minorities, stand behind the most needed, send doctors to Africa, protest against Putin, despise Kim Jong-un, and many others.
I have applauded or even actively supported some of these causes and demonstrations. The big problem that I now find is that in our search for a better world our society has become too damn sensitive, and having too much of anything is never good. Nowadays making a smart joke is racism, elaborating a school prank is bullying, having a 51% male congress is sexism, buying a beach house is classism, going to church on Sunday is religionism, and privatizing the nation’s oil is anti-nationalism. We have created more “isms”, anti’s, and phobias than we can handle.
This week the news is that we, Mexican football fans, are homophobic. The conclusion was found by international media when noticing a chant coming from the Mexican crowd in the game against Brazil every time Julio Cesar, Brazil’s goalkeeper, kicked a goal kick: “EEEEHHHHH PUUUUUUUUTOOO”.
Todd, a close friend of mine who happens to be gay texted me with cynicism “your boy Herrera is making some solid comments” after he probably saw a headline at ESPN.com saying “Mexican Coach Miguel Herrera Defends Gay Slur Chant by Crowd”. My answer to him was: “I stand by Miguel 100% and I’m going to tell you why.” I went on to explain that the PUTO chant has no anti-gay connotation whatsoever. I also told him that “puto” is in fact a swear word and that sometimes it can mean “fag” but in this case it doesn’t, the closest translation would probably be “coward”.
“Puto” as many other swearwords is used in many ways in Mexico: “freaking”, “fucking”, “damn” and directed equally towards people and things. In this case Mexican fans use it to pressure the rival, to create a home field advantage even in foreign soil, and most importantly to laugh and have a good time in what is supposed to be an enjoyable event. Now FIFA wants to take the fun away from us claiming that it is a gay slur. BALONEY! No one was getting offended by the chant! And if they did it was because they do not understand the context, or are too damn sensitive and in need for attention.
FIFA is now going to “open an investigation” on the matter. Good luck with that FIFA, after that please let us know how your homophobia investigations have gone in Russia and Qatar. But FIFA is not the only one to blame. ESPN is the number one “click generator” in the industry. That is why they typed “gay slur” and not “controversial” in their headline. That is why John Sutcliffe, the ESPN beat reporter for the Mexican team, interviewed Hector Gonzalez Iñarritu, the head of the Mexican Delegation in Brazil, in English and used the term “gay slur” and seemed to be tricking Hector into saying more controversial things. Hector’s English wasn’t great and the thing aired in SportCenter making Mexicans look evil.
Before I finish, I want to mention that I have read some quality columns from Mexicans arguing that even though the chant is not homophobic it should be stopped. I don’t agree with them because we shouldn’t stop something fun just because it can wrongly be interpreted in a way that could potentially be homophobic. As anything, before making a judgment, investigate, analyze, and then judge. The NFL for reasons that I do not understand doesn’t allow players to celebrate touchdowns creatively, is that were soccer/football is heading? Is that what we want? I seriously doubt that anyone will be able to stop Mexican creativity but still, this is wrong, and it all has to do with our society trying too hard to make a perfect world which would be too sensitive and too boring.
Anyhow, next Monday, the PUTO chant will be louder than ever in Brazil. Unfortunately I won’t be hearing it because probably both ESPN and Univision will mute it as Univision had done it during the World Cup qualification. Don’t worry I’ll make up for it with an EEEEHHHHH PUUUUUUUTOO of my own.
Until next time…
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