Skip to Content

New L.A. Soccer Team Already Dealing With Fans Chanting ‘P*to’ at Inaugural Game — Fun or Offensive?

6:30 PM PDT on May 1, 2018

    Anti-gay or good clean fun?

    The new Major League Soccer team the Los Angeles Football Club, or LAFC, had their inaugural game on Sunday, but already the team is confronting controversy over its fans use of a common chant during football games in Mexico that is widely considered a homophobic slur.

    During kicks by the goalkeeper for the inaugural opposing team, the Seattle Sounders, fans were heard chanting the word “puto” just before the goalkeeper made contact with the soccer ball. In Spanish the word is translated as “fag” or “faggot,” but it is sometimes used generally to denote cowardice or betrayal in Mexican slang.

    On Monday, after LAFC’s 1-0 win over Seattle at the new Banc of California Stadium at USC, the club and the 3252 Independent Supporters Union released a statement warning that fans taking part in the offensive chanting will be removed from stadium and have their season membership revoked after this weekend's second home-game.

    “LAFC and The 3252 does not support or condone the use of offensive language and inappropriate chants,” the statement read. “They have no place at Banc of California Stadium and within our Club.”

    Monica Trasandes, Spanish-language media director for LGBT advocacy group GLAAD, said the penalties set forth by the LAFC are a start.

    A rendering of the Banc of California Stadium/via LAFC.

    In recent years, the word has been used in soccer matches in Mexico and other countries. While media campaigns and soccer organizations have addressed the chant, Trasandes said soccer as an institution has not done enough in other countries to discourage its use. With MLS rising in the U.S., Trasandes said the negative impact of the word could be hard to understand if you are not gay or a member of the LGBT community.

    “It’s hurtful because that word has so much power for so many Latino men, and women too, because you don’t have to be a gay man to have been hurt by that word,” Trasandes told L.A. Taco.

    GLAAD has been tackling the issue for years with campaigns like #stoptheslurs.

    RELATED: Two Male Dancers Make L.A. Rams Cheer Squad, Marking First in NFL History

    “It’s a name that for a lot of gay, bi, trans lesbian, people has been used as an insult, so I know that a lot of times people will say ‘We don’t mean it that way’,” Trasandes said. “People say to me ‘We don’t mean it like that, we mean it as synonymous with idiot or another word that is not homophobic,’ but I try to explain that your intention, unfortunately, has nothing to do with the power of that word and how the person hearing it has experienced that word their whole life.”

    GLAAD worked with FIFA before the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, asking that the international soccer organization take a stand against anti-LGBT language. The group says it will continue to fight the issue leading up to the 2018 World Cup later this year in Russia. Despite threats or sanctions against Mexico's soccer federation, use of the chant persists.

    Back at home, Trasandes hopes the penalties set forth by clubs like LAFC will work to harvest a more welcoming space during soccer games. The LAFC’s first LGBT Supporters Group, Pride Republic, also released a statement via Instagram:

    “While we are excited and proud of LAFC’s win at our inaugural home game, we should seize the opportunity to foster a culture of inclusion and respect,” Pride Republic said. “Slurs of any form against any group ... have no place in our city and at our new stadium.”

    Trasandes says it’s exciting that U.S. soccer is becoming more popular among Latinos and Latinas, but said she doesn’t want the beautiful game to expose Latinx fans to anti-LGBT slurs.  “The last thing I wanna see is that when [Latinx fans] go to a game they start chanting this word that they probably don’t ever hear at home, hopefully or anything else, but now is being introduced to them,” Trasandes said.

    LAFC's next home game is Saturday, May 5, against FC Dallas.

    RELATED: Police Chase Ends 'Like Grand Theft Auto 5' When Truck Goes into Gold Line Tunnel

    Stay in touch

    Sign up for our free newsletter

    More from L.A. TACO

    What To Eat This Weekend: Cannabis-Infused Boat Noodles, Thai Smashburgers, and “Grass & Ass”

    Plus, a pizza festival and a respected chef from Toluca, Mexico comes to Pasadena to consult for a restaurant menu, including enchiladas divorciadas, and more.

    April 12, 2024

    Facing ‘Immediate Layoffs,’ L.A. TACO Launches Membership Drive to Save Our Publication

    After Sunday, we do not have enough money to make another payroll. We need 5,000 members to become sustainable. Our deadline is April 26th to hit this goal.

    April 12, 2024

    The Final Round of TACO MADNESS 2024 Is Now Open for Voting! It’s Highland Park vs. San Fernando Valley

    It was an incredible comeback to deny last year's winner and bring a first-timer from the San Fernando Valley to the finals. They will have an uphill battle against Villa's Tacos, who lead all teams in total votes so far in the 2024 competition. L.A.'s favorite taco will be decided on Sunday, April 14th, at 11:59 P.M. 

    April 11, 2024

    This New Koreatown Onigiri Spot Is Unlike Any Other in Southern California

    Supamu, which started as a food truck and a series of pop-ups, brands itself as Southern California’s first Okinawa-style onigiri. What sets its onigiri apart from competitors? All the details are in the post, plus where to find it.

    April 10, 2024

    When ‘Tomorrow’ Never Comes: The Saga of a DTLA Bar Staff’s Struggle To Get Paid

    A barback recalled a time when he had to use a payday loan app to cover a dinner bill. “How can you, with a straight face, hand someone a check knowing that there isn’t money in the account,” the barback questioned.

    April 10, 2024
    See all posts