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How Chicago Dealt With Soccer Fans' Homophobic Chant

How Chicago Dealt With Soccer Fans' Homophobic Chant

nelson rodriguez

The general manager of the Chicago Fire asked fans at Toyota Park to stop using a Spanish slur that many people consider antigay. 

A Major League Soccer team in Chicago is the latest to call on fans not to use a chant that Mexican soccer fans often use against an opposing team.

During Chicago Fire's Pride Night, general manager Nelson Rodriguez took the field to tell fans to stop shouting "puto" at the visiting team. "An inappropriate and offensive chant has been used by some of our fans," he said. "It is unbecoming and certainly not reflective of the great city that we live in, and the best fans in Major League Soccer."

The general manager warned fans that anyone heard using the slur would be asked to leave the stadium. "Please be advised that if the chant continues and you are found to be participating, you are subject to removal. If you are near fans using offensive language, please advise stadium security so we can handle that as well," Rodriguez said.

There's a big dispute among fans and officials about whether "puto" is antigay. The word translates to "male prostitute," but, Leon Krauze, a journalist for Univision, says "the origins of the chant are blurred and ultimately irrelevant." Despite the differences over its meaning, it's generally agreed that the context that the word is used in -- at soccer games -- is ultimately what makes it homophobic.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Rodriguez elaborated on why he is making an effort to stop the use of "puto" at soccer games. "This chant is offensive," Rodgriguez he said. "It's vulgar, it's inappropriate, and it runs contrary, I think -- even in my short time here -- to the spirit of Chicago, which at every turn I just find is warm and welcoming and friendly, and I'm of Latino descent."

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