After Orlando, Should Mexicans Keep Chanting ‘Ehhhhhh, Puto!’ at Soccer Matches?

Is this the end of the 'Puto' chant?

Is this the end of the ‘Puto’ chant?

Don’t go on reading if you think I have the answer to the above question, but it’s one that is being asked more and more these days, especially after a deranged individual stormed a gay bar in Orlando, Florida, killing dozens of people and earning the “honor” of having committed this country’s deadliest mass shooting to date.

Unless you live under a rock or — what’s more likely — don’t follow fútbol mexicano, Mexican soccer fans for years have popularized a simple chant to address goalies. It goes like this: “Ehhhhhhhh, puto!”. 

Puto, in a nutshell, can be translated as “fag” and it’s used because in Spanish, to score a goal is to “put [the ball] in” as in meterla (PUT IT IN), get it? Put “it” in.

Heck, even kids do it!

Per a 2014 story on Vice.com:

[The phrase] was first used by rowdy fans during soccer games in Guadalajara in 2004 —including an Olympics qualifying match against the US, Mexico’s bitter soccer rival, and from there it spread throughout Mexico’s professional soccer league.

It is true that the phrase came across as particularly insensitive Monday night, during a Copa America match between Mexico and Venezuela.

As a writer from The Guardian pointed out this week, the chant’s effect “was all the more jarring after a minute’s silence had been held in the stadium for the victims of the [Orlando] tragedy.”

Upon reading The Guardian story, I texted a [Mexican] friend, in Mexico, and told him: “I feel torn about the puto chant. Personally, I think it’s not the same to chant puto and then go on your way without hurting a fly, than buying a AR-15 automatic rifle and plenty of ammunition, and then go kill 50 people….without uttering the word PUTO even once.”

My friend feels the same way as I do, but perhaps that’s also because, like me, he is also Mexico born and has never lived in PC-USA.

We were both pretty sure that Omar Mateen did not yell “Ehhhhh, PUTOS” when he was doing his bloody business inside the Pulse Nightclub Saturday night. But perhaps the idea of “a bunch of faggots having a good time” was ringing in his head throughout the whole thing in some shape or form. Who the heck cares if he uttered any word or not?

As a Mexican, born in Mexico and accustomed to macho culture & language, but yet raised in a household that was always tolerant to people who were “different” from us, I’ve always deemed the “Ehhhhh, puto” chant as totally harmless.

Now, after 15 years plus living in this country, I’m not so sure.

Help me understand, please. Comments, as usual, are more than welcome, below.

This entry was posted in Mexico, Racism, Soccer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to After Orlando, Should Mexicans Keep Chanting ‘Ehhhhhh, Puto!’ at Soccer Matches?

  1. Dirk R says:

    Words matter. The labels we assign to people and groups cam dehumanize them. How are homophobic chants any different than similar chants used about minorities? If you want people to think differently, you have to be willing to act differently. The chant is infantile. Gay slurs are unacceptable just as it would if U.S. fans began to chant,, “Deport him! Deport him!” every time a Mexican player took possession of the ball. Steve Kerr, the former NBA star and coach of the Golden State Warriors, was subjected to chants while in college. His father, a professor in Beirut, was kidnapped and murdered. Fans started to chant, “PLO, PLO…” [for the Palestinian Liberation Organization] during the game. Is this funny? It’s shameful. It’s a game. And while everyone wants to win, acting with such disrespect and pulling out worn stereotypes gives license to others. I don’t think people just turn it off when they leave the game – this kind of talk reinforces attitudes and prejudices. Attitudes would change if people saw the pain it caused to friends and family who are part of the afflicted groups. People, especially those of the LBGTQ community, have had to live with sanctioned prejudice and the threat of (or worse) of violence merely because of their sexual orientation. This chant is a visceral reminder of mob attitudes.

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