Atlanta United responded to an incident in which some fans started a homophobic chant at a game this weekend.
The Major League Soccer team played the New York Red Bulls Sunday night, losing 2-1. Some fans of Atlanta United engaged in the “puto” chant, which originated in Mexico. The chant involves saying “Ehhh… puto!” when the goalkeeper runs to kick the ball. “Puto” can be translated as “male prostitute,” “male bitch,” and “faggot.”
The president of the Mexican gay organization Colectivo Sol Juan Jacobo Hernandez told Vice Sports that the chant is an attack on LGBTQ people. “It is a cultural thing but it’s cultural discrimination, cultural homophobia. Calling football players ‘puto’ is not just about making them miss their kick, it’s a way of degrading their masculine abilities and saying they’re not real men.”
Atlanta United has condemned the chant, saying Monday that it is “taking measures internally” to address the anti-gay chant. In a statement, the team said the chants “have no place in our matches” and they will try to remove offending fans from the stadium in the future.
“Atlanta United does not support or condone the use of offensive language. We strive to foster a positive, enthusiastic and inclusive environment for all fans, and inappropriate chants have no place at our matches. Fans found to be participating in this behavior will be subject to removal from the building.”
The match on Sunday was the first of the season. That game attracted over 55,000 spectators.