Soccer fans cast a pall over what was supposed to be a celebratory event when they continually chanted the homophobic “puto” (a slur against gay men) throughout the L.A. Galaxy’s match against FC Dallas on Wednesday’s Pride Night at Los Angeles’s StubHub Stadium, according to Outsports.
The L.A. Galaxy, the team that once employed, Robbie Rogers, the first out gay man in major North American pro team sports, has held an annual Pride Night for a few years now. And although fans chanting the homophobic slur “puto” is not new to the sport, it was especially pointed on a night intended as an inclusive, celebratory event for LGBT people on the verge of Pride Month. Each ticket included a Pride-themed Galaxy scarf that was also available to nonattendees for a fee, a percentage of which was donated to the You Can Play Project to help send LGBT youths to games.
But the evening became more than just rainbow flags and good vibes when antigay attendees banded together to shout the slur that has its own dark history. Fans of Mexico’s teams have long shouted “puto” at players on the opposing teams, despite multiple fines, star players pleading with them to stop for fear it would ruin Mexico’s World Cup chances, and LGBT rights groups, government officials, and international soccer authorities condemning the behavior.
Mexico’s fans shouted the term so often during matches at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil that soccer’s governing body, FIFA, and LGBT rights groups took note.
Despite it being Pride Night at the Galaxy match Wednesday, there were no repercussions for fans who shouted the antigay slur. But officials could have taken a page from the Chicago Fire’s playbook. In 2016 at that club’s Pride observance, after the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus opened the event with the National Anthem, the club’s manager, Nelson Rodriguez, took to the pitch and told the crowd that anyone found shouting it would be kicked out of the stadium.