Ehhh PUTO! it should be stopped

Rene Delgadillo, Staff Reporter

The word “puto” has become a major issue for the International Federation of Association Football, or FIFA, and the Mexican national soccer team. The word has become the central part of a ritual present in almost any soccer game in Mexico.

Every time the rival goalkeeper kicks the ball out of the box, Mexican fans shout this word in unison.

For those unfamiliar with the word, there are many different meanings to “puto,” all of them quite unflattering. But, as it happens with most bad words in Spanish, it is hard to give it one simple meaning. The derogatory word can mean coward, traitor, male prostitute or a homosexual man, depending to who you are talking to, what you are talking about, in what situation and with what tone the word is used.

For many soccer fans in Mexico, this word, as well as many other bad words, is used with regularity in soccer matches as a way of creating a fun environment among all the attendees.

The word has been in my vocabulary for such a long time, ever since I went to my first soccer match, and it has been hard to stop the word from coming out of my mouth each time I get frustrated and angry while I watch a soccer match.

This ritual of screaming “puto” is an attempt by the fans to create pressure on the keeper with the hope that he fails on the next play. People on social media use the term when the match is boring. By screaming “puto,” they claim it makes the match a little less boring.

FIFA says the word is homophobic and disrespectful, while Mexican fans excuse themselves by saying it is part of their culture and an essential part of a soccer match.

Both of the parties are right.

But, I believe that if humans with different sexual orientations feel discriminated against, then soccer fans should stop the screaming of this word.

Taking “puto” out of soccer games will be very difficult, maybe even impossible. There is even a song titled “Puto” by the Mexican band Molotov, a song that is fairly popular among young people. Mexican soccer fans are creating so many memes and videos laughing at FIFA for their intention of shutting down the word; but they are not taking the time to consider if the word is offensive to others.

Paying a ticket to a match does not give you the right to speak any way you want, especially not at the expense of others. How many of the users of the word “puto” have asked people with different sexual orientations if this word bothers them? Probably very few, if any at all.

The Mexican Football Federation received a financial penalty for the chant. They had to pay $20,000 as a fine to FIFA after the Mexican federation was told to stop their fans from screaming “puto,” which they did not do.

I think it was fair. We live in a time period in which the LGTBQ community is trying to obtain equal human rights and sports must give them the respect they deserve. 

FIFA is now analyzing the possibility of implementing a veto on Mexico’s stadium—meaning that the Mexican soccer team would have to play their next match without a single fan. There is even the theory that if Mexican fans continue with use of this word, then the Mexican team would be disqualified from the World Cup in Russia, which will be played in 2018.

As a result, the Mexican team has created videos where their players ask their fans to stop screaming that word. The players said that they do not discriminate against no one and that they do not want to play a match without the support of their people.

FIFA is being serious about the use of this word and Mexico does not want to risk the profit they earn during each match. People want to see Mexico play, so why risk it all for a simple tradition that is homophobic for many?

Mexicans got upset when Donald Trump came out with his famous speech saying that Mexicans were rapists and that they brought drugs and problems to this nation, but why is that when the rival goalkeeper kicks the ball, it is okay to call him a name that many find offensive? Do we, the fans of the national soccer team of Mexico, have a double standard when it comes to offensive words and comments? I think we do.

To really understand the issue, we need to hear from a person from the LGTBQ community. Their voice and opinion needs to be heard so that fans and soccer officials understand the effects of screaming “puto.” Homophobic and racist insults should have no place for the sporting world.

Rene Delgadillo may be reached at [email protected]