Posts tagged homophobia
That day was momentous for me. Yes, other players, both men and women, have come out in the past few years. Hysen, Testo, Rapinoe, Lindsey. I’ve rooted against Testo and I’ve rooted for Rapinoe. But Robbie Rogers was just different somehow for me, and I can’t quite put my finger on why. Maybe it’s because I cheered him on from the supporters section at the 2009 Gold Cup. Maybe it’s because I cheered him on from my local American Outlaws bar when he scored against Mexico in 2011. Maybe it’s because as a recent Major League Soccer player I watched him play week after week on MLS Live.
Maybe it’s because he’s just so darned cute. I don’t know. But I was moved and dumbstruck reading his blog post over and over that day last month. And I cried more than once.
Italian National Team and AC Milan forward Antonio Cassano was asked today in Poland about rumors of closeted gay players on his team.
“Poofs in the national team? That’s their problem. But I hope not”.
The word in Italian he used was froci, which is slang that can be translated to mean “poof” or f*g.” Most media outlets just report that he used a “derogatory word toward gays.”
This is incredibly appalling considering if there are closeted players on the team, they fell all the more unwelcome on the team.
Update: Cassano later apologized (translation via Twitter user @agiamba): “I am truly sorry that my comments caused controversy and offended gay rights associations. I do not share the sentiments of homophobia, I didn’t want to offend anyone or call into question people’s sexual choices. I only said it’s an issue that doesn’t relate to me, and I don’t want to judge others choices, they should be respected.”
Choices? Clearly Cassano needs much more education into LGBT issues based on how he worded his weak “sorry that I offended people” apology.
Also today at Euro 2012 there are clashes between Russian and Polish fans (AP reports violence, ESPN says peaceful), a Polish city official thanked guests to his city for behaving like “civilized white people” and UEFA finally started looking into racist taunts directed toward Mario Balotelli.
German GLBT anti-violence group Maneo created the following poster ahead of their country hosting the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but it’s getting a lot of buzz now that it’s Euro 2012 time and the spotlight is on the host countries’ less-than-stellar records when it comes to civil rights:
Ukraine’s capital Kiev was scheduled to have the country’s first-ever gay pride parade this past weekend.
That is, until hundreds of right-wing soccer hooligans gathered nearby and the event was cancelled out of fear for particpants’ safety.
Even after the pride parade dispersed, a group of men kicked and jumped on Svyatoslav Sheremet, head of the Gay Forum of Ukraine:
Last week I addressed updating the MLS Fan Code of Conduct to specifically include homophobic and transphobic language. This week I address a far too prevalent bit of language used by soccer supporters.
It’s a word that I’ve been hearing almost since when I first became a soccer fan, and it’s always bothered me but seemed to be too ingrained in the culture to be able to do anything about. But more and more as I talk about it with fellow fans, they see that there’s a pretty shocking practice that has become commonplace upon goal kicks.
The Houston Chronicle’s Jose de Jesus Ortiz named the issue in his Colin Clark coverage last month:
MLS…has not curbed or even spoken out against the tradition of fans screaming a vulgar Spanish gay slur each time the opposing goalkeeper takes a goal kick. A group of Dynamo supporters has embraced the tradition, which originated in Mexico and is common at many MLS stadiums.
The word is “puto” and put quite simply it is considered the worst slur against a gay person that is possible in many cultures. It is the word that New Yorker Leslie Mora heard as she was severely beaten by two assailants with a heavy belt buckle as she left a Queens gay club in the summer of 2009. It is a word several states use to define hate crimes. It’s a word that has no place in soccer.
Again, this word is sadly ingrained in soccer culture, and it will take more than Major League Soccer to take a stand. CONCACAF, FIFA, and other leagues in the United States have a part to play in educating fans as to how inappropriate and unacceptable it is.
And that’s the key: education. Many people probably use that chant with a lack of awareness as to what it means, or what it means to other people. But just as we would find it unacceptable to use slurs against any group as part of a chant, it’s time to take a stand now and work to get “puto” out of soccer.
Yep, it’s a post later in the evening, and a quick one too. But we have a busy slate tomorrow post-SuperDraft and I wanted to take a minute to salute one of our soccer allies for doing something that was I felt was quite special and quite frankly moved me a bit. On his podcast tonight, The Ginge dedicates a good amount of time devoted to his reasons for being an ally, combating homophobia in soccer, and showing tolerance toward your fellow humans. Thank you, friend, for using your platform for speaking out.