Mexican Soccer Team Penalized After Controversial Slur

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 7:08pm
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Courtesy: Paulina Chavira
During the 2018 World Cup, Paulina Chavira has campaigned on social media to avoid derogatory slurs and to use "acentos" (accents) in jerseys from Spanish-speaking countries.

MEXICO CITY-  There’s a festive mood in Mexico since Sunday, when its national soccer team defeated world champion Germany at the World Cup in Russia. But a controversial chant is endangering Mexico’s presence in the tournament, while generating divisions and concerns among the fans.

For those who follow Mexican soccer, then there's familiarity with a cheer that happens almost every time the opponent’s goalie kicks the ball. It includes a cursing word in Spanish that, let’s say, rhymes with “Pluto.”

And FIFA, the main soccer authority in the world, fined the Mexican team after Sunday’s match (it has actually fined the Mexican Soccer Federation for the same situation in the past).

The reason: that word in the chant is a slang term for gay men.

But the word also means “coward,” and some fans say the cheer is not homophobic and just intends to intimidate the opponent.

“Language changes and you have different concepts or meanings, even in certain places or with certain people, but in this case there are so many people that think it’s derogatory, that you need to respect that,” said Paulina Chavira, a Mexican Twitter influencer and editor with a strong focus on the proper usage of Spanish.

Chavira thinks that despite the multiple connotations, it’s time to find a harmless way to cheer, while following FIFA’s rules.

“I think Mexicans are really creative, and I think that maybe (the fans) can just think of another word or something without offending anybody else,” Chavira said.

And if the chant happens again, fans could get kicked out of the stadium, and Mexico out of the tournament.

“We should be changing our attitude, because you are showing respect to the other,” said Chavira.

FIFA ultimately decides the penalty, but it could either be another fine, banning fans from stadiums or taking points off from Mexico’s global score, which could ultimately mean Mexico out of Russia 2018.


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