With the World Cup underway, the FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) has decided to investigate the use of a slur used by Mexican fans. I believe, however, that this investigation is unnecessary and contradictory to the FIFA’s standards.
On Tuesday June 17, FIFA’s anti-racism department held a press conference announcing the investigation of the Mexican slur “puto” because both Mexican and Brazilian fans used the word every time the opposing goalie kicked the ball. Both teams have received a warning by the FIFA, but more severe measures, such as deduction of points or disqualification, could be taken if this continues.
I believe that this investigation is doing more harm than good. Aside from being a homophobic slur, “puto” also means coward or weakling. When the fans are yelling at the goalie, they use it with this meaning in mind. However, since the word is a way to call someone a homosexual, FIFA is obligated to investigate any shape or form of racism, or intolerance that could make anyone associated with the FIFA (beit fans or players) uncomfortable.
This is where the FIFA is going about this the wrong way. With the penalties that the organization has established, FIFA is creating a form of censorship. They are limiting what the Mexican fans can say, which is a violation of free speech.
I believe that everyone has the right to yell whatever they want, in whatever language they please. It would be in bad taste that someone yells actual racist or LGBT slurs. It is only a matter of sitting down and doing some research as to the meaning of each slur.
This is plausible, since the World Cup only happens every four years.
By setting up these consequences, FIFA is depriving a nation of its culture. In Mexico, every state has a slur that they use against a rival goalie. In Tijuana, they yell “burro”, which literally translates to donkey, but also means idiot or dumbass. Other states, like Guadalajara, yell “puto”. I feel that FIFA is being insensitive to Mexico and its customs, although I completely understand that “puto”, when used with malicious intent, is insensitive to the LGBT community.
In the game between Mexico and Croatia, FIFA decided to drop the investigation and not fine the Mexican Soccer Federation because the conduct of the spectators did not violate the organization’s liability clauses.