Mexico's Shame

By Mike Woitalla

There is something that Mexican soccer should be ashamed and embarrassed about.

No, it’s not its national team performances. El Tri is back on track to reach the World Cup and Mexico's runner-up finish at this month’s U-17 World Cup comes two years after the Mexicans lifted that title.

This is about Mexican fans and their goal-kick chant.

You heard it every few minutes if you watched the ESPN broadcast of Mexico’s 5-1 win over New Zealand. If you were watching Univision, you didn’t, because the Spanish-language network hit the mute button whenever Kiwi keeper Glenn Moss booted a goal kick.

The keeper lines up and when he kicks the ball, the fans scream "Puto!" The word has various connotations, but if you imagine a stadium full of fans screaming “faggot” you have an idea of what’s going on here.

Teams around the world are being punished with fines or stadium closures for racist chants. There have even been fines for booing national anthems. But the rulers of the game -- i.e. FIFA, Concacaf, Femexfut -- seem to have no problem with this homophobic Mexican fan tradition.

Even better than a governing body intervening would be that if Mexican players and coaches spoke out -- made a plea to their fans that this needs to stop.

Or they can remain silent as Mexican soccer continues to shame itself.
33 comments about "Mexico's Shame".
  1. Tyler Dennis, November 14, 2013 at 4 p.m.

    I watch Mexican soccer games, frequent Xolos games and they yell, "Burro!", which means burro. To tell you the truth, a goalie that always kicks the ball 60 yards to the other team is a burro, so it seems appropriate. Also, Puto means a "male prostitute." The prostitution part isn't necessarily a gay insinuation. It also has the connotation of coward. The word that is synonymous with "faggot" is "joto."

  2. Futbol Genio, November 14, 2013 at 4:05 p.m.

    In USA, college & MlS, everyone yells "U suck" on goalie kicks; "Whose ur father, mr. Ref" on controversial calls; "Suck on my balls" (Philly) when ref gives a poor yellow or red card...and so on. Univ of Md loves to taunt players by mentioning moms & girlfriends by name..ALL R AWFUL!

    Yelling puto in Spanish is almost harmless, but why anyone curses at players or refs is beyond me:-) Incognitos we are a People.

  3. Gonzalo Munevar, November 14, 2013 at 4:07 p.m.

    Tyler is correct. The word "puto" means male prostitute. It is a nasty word, the equivalent of "whore" to a male. But perhaps Tyler is also right and Mike needs to have his ears checked.

  4. Peter Uribe, November 14, 2013 at 4:19 p.m.

    It seems to be the case that Mike thinks that you translate a language and not interpreted. However, you can't translate a language to understand it, you have to interpreted it. Therefore, Mike you may need to focus on what our US National youth teams are doing, which is nothing, both U-17 girls and boys, are not going to the world cup and you are worry about what other country is doing. How about an article on why 7 Mexican American girls played for Mexico and not for the USA? Interview them and get the answers that would give you more readers.

  5. Carlos Solorzano, November 14, 2013 at 4:31 p.m.

    Tyler couldn't of said it better. Puto also means promiscuous and a womanizer. Plus its part of the culture. It was annoying when Univision would mute it. I think that's more of an attention getter than you hearing them say it.

  6. soccer talk, November 14, 2013 at 4:34 p.m.

    Unfortunately many sports have classless fans that practice their freedom of speech w/ profanity... directed at referees as well as players. Throw in the alcohol and they can get even worse. Soccer in my opinion brings out the worst bad mouthing consistently from all other. It has gotten to the point where I cannot take my daughter to a game because of the idiot behavior.

  7. Chris Sapien , November 14, 2013 at 5:06 p.m.

    ric, you lost us on the second to last sentence......

  8. soccer talk, November 14, 2013 at 5:21 p.m.

    I am sure you could dig up isolated rants, raves, stupid behavior from white communities, brown, black, ... But the common chant in CONCACAF is "Puto" on goal kicks is rampant. They yell it thru the stands for all to hear and over the TV waves. I just tell my daughter that they are people that speak/yell w/out thinking about the words really mean or how they may affect others. Probably cannot stop this poor behavior at the game. I wish they would have stuck w/ "burro". Maybe they could have those yahoos tie their bandanas or scarfs over their loud mouth during goal

  9. Dean Mitchell, November 14, 2013 at 5:34 p.m.

    Puto also translates to MF.

    I've gotta be honest, Xolos games are a blast and if the use of a little off-color language keeps it from becoming a Chuck-e-cheese experience (the mistake too many US teams make) I'm all for it.

    What offends me is PA systems pumping up jock rock that drowns out the spontaneous fan noise and scoreboards telling us when to clap or say Dee-Fense.

    On a recent road trip in Vancouver I observed "You suck bastard" on goal kicks and they said "wanker" as each opposing player was introduced. Everyone was smiling (just like when they say puto er burro at Xolos games)

  10. Mario Araujo, November 14, 2013 at 8:03 p.m.

    Mike Woitalla I was embarrassed when I first heard people screaming "Puto" on goal kicks, but I have gotten used to it now. Do not make a mountain out of a mole hill.

    I first I wanted to join in the scream but I was uncomfortable with the word so I screamed PLUTO instead. Now I scream PUTO also. The world has bigger things to worry about like drone attacks on innocent civilians and overthrowing democratically elected governments.

  11. Alexander Perez, November 14, 2013 at 8:32 p.m.

    I was born in Mexico but proudly became a USA citizen. I've been in this country since i was 13 years old and i'm almost 50. Since I was a little kid, I attended soccer matches and as far as i can remember there are two words that are chanted: PUTO and CULO.

    Tyler is correct all the way. When Mexican people call someone PUTO, depending on the CONTEXT in which is said, it can mean different things: Coward, Ladies Man, Homosexual, etc. When Mexican people chant CULO, they are actually saying coward and not A$$

    I've also been to England on business and got a chance to watch a lot of EPL games. If you think a single word is Mexico's shame, think again. Just google for "Chelsea chants" or goto and describe England's shame for us, please.

    Every EPL club has similar chants as well as German's Bundesliga and not to mention Netherlands's Eredivisie which are some of the places I've been to watch soccer matches.

    You should concentrate the issue Peter Uribe exposes and not petty topics.

  12. Ginger Peeler, November 14, 2013 at 8:50 p.m.

    To yell words bordering on obscenities is despicable behavior...whoever is doing it! Most of you seem to be making excuses for it by pointing out stuff heard at other sports facilities (basketball, etc) and in soccer games played in the US. As if that makes it okay. Do mothers no longer teach their children that there are some things you just don't say in mixed company? Much less yell out in public? Why is it fun to yell offensive things at others? Does that make you feel better; feel superior? These games are shown on TV. Is this really the behavior you want to teach your children? Really? Shame on anyone participating in such poor behavior. And now will some of you choose to call me names to prove my point? You're all better than that.

  13. Ginger Peeler, November 14, 2013 at 9:04 p.m.

    One more thing: Soccer Talk, the worst I've ever heard from fans was when I lived in San Diego and the Oakland Raiders came to town to play the Chargers. Most of the comments hurled by the fans were x-rated. It was impossible to take a child to one of those games. As a parent, you'd be sitting beside your child, holding your hands over his or her ears for the whole game. I've found soccer fans to be better behaved, but that is eroding over time as more people indulge in such bad behavior and people begin accepting it with a kind of "boys will be boys" attitude. And, yes, I realize there are women who also participate in this boorish behavior. That still doesn't make it right.

  14. Che Guevara, November 14, 2013 at 9:55 p.m.

    Ginger, I dont think many are arguing with you on your point that are well taken. Puto isnt taken as bad as it sounds amongst Mexicans. Many bad words in Spanish depend on the tone for the severity of it. Puto can be said as a compliment in some cases. I think the point that most make and I will too, according to this article is that, there are plenty of absolutely worse examples of sporting behavior right here at home to critisize instead of worrying about other countries. What was truly tried to accomplish in writing this article?? So Mexicans reading it can be ashamed?? Or to discourage MLS or USA fans of doing the same?? There are plenty of idiots everywhere and we are no picnic. Got news for you. Not that many Mexicans read these articles. I dont think I have read one article about Hooligans and ignorant violence in European soccer. How about racism?? Is that not shameless?? Do you have a stronger derragotory word for that behavior?? Whats a shame is we call the kettle black.

  15. Che Guevara, November 14, 2013 at 9:58 p.m.

    I would love to see that "Shame" reference next to "USA U17, U20, U23 Results". Now thats some writing!! It seems we have alot more to be shamed about than fans yelling out one word!!!

  16. Gonzalo Munevar, November 14, 2013 at 10:37 p.m.

    As I said earlier, "puto" is a nasty word, and visiting players should not be treated this way anywhere in the world. On the other hand, it does not mean what Mike says either. And his politically-correct point does not really apply.

  17. Salvador Morote, November 14, 2013 at 11:26 p.m.

    Mike Woitalia's Shame: Woitalia, if you are going to judge and criticize, the least that you can do is to not behave ignorant and prejudiced or perhaps even bigotted against Mexicans. If you do not want to read a dictionary, or to ask a Spanish speaking person educated in the Mexican version of Spanish, it is not that difficult to find a Spanish speaking person if Mexican descent... the word “puto" does not translate as “faggot" (the Mexican word for faggot is “Joto"). The true meaning of the Mexican word Puto, in Spanish, is that that single word describes someone who acts with “malice, subterfuge, treacherous, two-faced and annoying". Why would you, supposedly a journalist responsible of sound research and accurate reporting, intentionally and maliciously accuse Mexicans of bigotry? Is yours an act of bigotry and slander?

  18. Doug Lister, November 15, 2013 at 12:05 a.m.

    I am 100% correct. I may not be a native speaker, but I've been a fluent speaker since I was very young. When you call someone that word, you mean gay. I don't mean just gay, I mean as vulgar as you can be. As much as i don't want to, i have to be a bit vulgar. When someone says, "eres un puto guey" they don't mean you're whatever salvador's definition is, they mean, "you're a cocksucker"

    I also take offense to the person above that says "it's no worse than what Chelsea chants". Sorry, vulgarity is vulgarity. You're correct. what Chelsea chants is vulgar, but saying that reminds me of the children when they say, "well he did it too'. it's still wrong and it's vulgar.

  19. Ginger Peeler, November 15, 2013 at 12:06 a.m.

    Che, I don't think you understood my point. If you yell "Puto" every time the goalie kicks the ball, if you engage in hooligan activity, if you throw bags of urine, batteries, or water bottles at the opposing team, you are participating in activities which shouldn't be tolerated. Just as FIFA is cracking down on Russia prior to their hosting of the WC by requiring that fans clean up their racist "monkey" sounds and comments toward africanamerican players. Each of these behaviors is wrong. They're all forms of bullying. The degree of "wrongness" may vary, but they are all inexcusable behaviors. And Mike wasn't picking on Mexico to try to make them a scapegoat. He was commenting on the fans' behavior he had observed in the just played Mexico/New Zealand game. If you are dissatisfied with the subjects covered by Soccer America, write a letter to them with your specific request and perhaps they will accommodate you. Or, cancel your subscription to Soccer America. If you feel there is a bias against Hispanics, then tell them or, again, cancel your subscription. I've been subscribing for about 20 years (long before they went online) and they have always supported Hispanic players and the "beautiful game". They have never favored the kick and run style of so many European teams.

  20. Salvador Morote, November 15, 2013 at 1:28 a.m.

    No Doug, you are not 100% correct. It does not mean gay nor cock sucker. Just like the true, history-based and culture-based, meaning of the word gay in English is “happy", the true meaning of the word puto is what I stated in my previous entry. It takes more than knowing fluently the vocabulary-based words of a particular language to know it even you can speak it. t takes a true knowledge of not only the “official" academy-based language, but more so its culture- and history-based language to fully know and understand a people's language. Of course, many words can be used in so many ways ranging from how it was intended to be used all the way to mere vulgarity and offense. The true meaning of the English word bitch, for instance, refers to a female dog. However, it is used malevolently as in “you! b...h", or simply vulgarly as in “damn, life is a b...h". So, no Doug... you're not 100% correct, unless you meant to be correct about supporting what appears to represent the ugly head of bigotry against an entire People.

  21. Salvador Morote, November 15, 2013 at 1:38 a.m.

    By the way, I am in no way supporting chanting puto (which is a vulgar way of saying what I described above... yet no different from whatever hackers in the US yell at NBA, NFL or MLB players for instance) or whatever, in Spanish or in any language, against anyone... athletes on the pitch included. It is a form of aggression... and a coward one for the hackers hide in the numbers, in the stands, and behind the rules that forbid athletes from answering or retaliating. Hacking and harassment, vulgar or not, has no healthy place in interpersonal communication.

  22. Che Guevara, November 15, 2013 at 8:38 a.m.

    Doug, you must not be as fluent as you think. Puto can be used in many ways. In soccer its used as a humoristic taunt by fans. It is vulgar but not as malicious as depicted here. It has the same effect amongst Mexicans as "YOU SUCK". Thats the severity of it. Americans hate it because they really dont understand how it's used. Puto can also be used to say someone is a lady's man. You should really ask a Mexican instead of trying to think you are as fluent as one. Chelsea chants are vicious. No comparison. Its another degree. If I could eliminate all of those chants I would because they all annoy me but lets keep all of them in context and say it how it actually is. I doubrt that the nature of this article was for anything positive. It was a shot at Mexican people calling the kettle black and thats what is really wrong with our country. Hipocracy.

  23. Che Guevara, November 15, 2013 at 10:21 a.m.

    Ginger, and thats why this is a blog. You can make your comments. in agreement or disagreement, public and to the writers. Whats wrong with that?? Its good to get feedback and see how many people agree with you or not for perspective. Dont you think?? I like alot of articles on SA but just not this one because it's really nothing to merit, Mexico's Shame. I thinkl thats just too much and question the motive behind it. I do think these SA writers are a little too suportive of the USA Yoth System and even to a degree "Naive" about that subject. To write about Mexico's Shame but not equally critisize, at the very least, the atrocity that is the U17, U20 and U23 results seems just a little off. If you are going to write an article dedicated to "one" chant that you dont appreciate from Mexican Fans, wouldnt writing an entire article of their success at the youth level make more sense ?? Or writing about how terribel the USA has performed at the youth level ??

  24. R2 Dad, November 15, 2013 at 12:12 p.m.

    MW, you are a brave man to stir this hornet's nest, but I think this is an interesting topic and one that more league officials should concern themselves with. I distinguish between professional and amateur by the language allowed by fans. You pay for a ticket, you can say whatever you'd like (just be aware those stadium cameras may catch you in the act). You might make a fool of yourself, but that's your call. At an amateur match, you're not paying to watch, so you're not allowed to say just anything. Professional match chanting can be offensive, but it mostly reflects poorly on the fans. Vile/offensive words to officials/players/coaches in an amateur match is, I think, a much bigger problem because it's up-close and personal, and always around children.

  25. Dean Mitchell, November 15, 2013 at 1:16 p.m.

    This is not a new argument:

    I honestly don't think you can legislate this stuff out. If it was patently racist or homophobic it would be dealt with. MLS is actually the most progressive league in the USA & Canada when it comes to those issues.

  26. Che Guevara, November 15, 2013 at 2:37 p.m.

    R2, Yes, you are absolutely correct. This is a world wide problem and it is much worse in many countries than Mexico. I think USA is right there with them. Lets see it as an overall problem and not just one country's shame.

  27. Paco Bas, November 15, 2013 at 3:06 p.m.

    To clasify PUTO in the FAGGOT category is just wrong. First off you need to understand the mexican slang and what it means and how it is being used. Like someone else said u you can just point fingers at Mexico and call it a shame and an emabarrasment. While USA is just as bad if not worse, its all in how you take the chant PUTO is not an offensive word between mexicans its just a friendly slang. Who started this chant in mexico as the goalie kicks the ball i dont know, but you can judge a country by a word you dont understand. I find it more insulting when the US National anthem is being sang and before it ends everyone starts yelling and getting all rattle up, let the anthem finish and them do all of that. But this is going around everywhere in the world and not just in Mexico. Not saying to disrespect any national anthem that is not yours is ok, but any other stuff its part of the home field advantage. Once again i think one must understand how a chant or word is being used in that country before thrashing and country altogehter just because you are not ok with it or where you come from is overly offensive.

    Good topic/blog interesting stuff.

  28. Che Guevara, November 15, 2013 at 5:27 p.m.

    Wotailla, write an article about English Hoogalism and you wont get this much input or down right outrage and I bet what is written is not saying anything like " English Embarrassment". Anything Hispanic in this country gets this heated. The media controls thought in this country. Immigration law talks, etc. influence the hate to detract from real problems. This is what you will see. Trash Talking in the NBA or fighting in Hockey wont get you this amount of controversy. Not even close. No negatice sentiment behind it. If our USA Team was majority black and black coach you would see no one say anything about it. Am I wrong?? Did anybody say anything for this long about majority White players with White coach in Soccer?? Nope. A few Hispanic teams and "red Flag". Hispanic Coach?? "Oh my god". Stereotyping, Bias, reverse discrimination. Have you heard reverse discrimination before so much before Hispanics and Soccer?? I sure havent. Think about it.

  29. Chris Sapien , November 15, 2013 at 8:47 p.m.

    Yikes......!! Victimization Culture in full swing now folks........

  30. Che Guevara, November 16, 2013 at 9:19 a.m.

    Nah, it's pointing the finger day.

  31. linda garrett, June 7, 2014 at 7:37 a.m.

    If they are yelling puto, culo or burro does it really matter? It is only a word. A person whose name is Dick does not mean that his parents thought of him as a dick which is also used for describing the male penis or someone who is being a jerk.

  32. Peter Jensen, June 17, 2014 at 11:48 p.m.

    Ummm.. Puto can also mean faggot too. To just say it means male prostitute is not accurate. Just look at the lyrics to the Molotov song called Puto.

  33. Memes Lopez, June 20, 2014 at 4:12 p.m.

    Personally I think we should worry about our country as in USA then be looking at what other countries are doing. We're criticizing Mexico but here in America we are doing it too! I also agree with Linda it's a game and people are just having fun. I've personally been to one and I would love to go again that's how the Mexicans get their full fun blast by shouting and making some noise!

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