Updated 01:47 AM EST, Sat, Dec 04, 2021

Mexican Fans Off The Hook with FIFA for Spanish Slur During Game Against Croatia (With Video)

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Mexico's soccer federation is off the hook, as FIFA decided that Mexican fans chanting the spanish slur "puto," while perhaps offensive to viewers and fans, was not done a taunt made in a discriminatory fashion.

Fans of Mexico's soccer league have long used the chant to distract soccer players and goalkeepers during penalty kicks. That habit was brought up again during the World Cup games during Mexico's game against Croatia, during which fans chanted "puto" as the Croatian team was announced. FIFA decided to investigate the matter.

The rough translation for puto is "fag," an offensive term in the english language as well, so if taken on face value, the term could be seen as offensive.

While it may seem odd that fans could have a tradition of antagonizing another team in this manner, that "win at any cost" is a culture that extends well past Mexico. Philadelphia Eagles fans are infamous for booing Santa Claus on Christmas Day games. Cleveland Browns fans have drawn national attention by raining glass beer bottles down on the field when referees make unfavorable calls. And more recently, Oklahoma State player Marcus Smart was ejected for going into the stands to confront a heckler from Texas Tech.

More often than not, fans in America are allowed the freedom of speech to say what they wish, offensive or not. 

For the slur, the Mexican Soccer Federation facing a potential hefty fine, and FIFA could have decided to play Mexico's next match behind closed doors, due to the repetitive nature of the unfavorable chant. Although the World Cup has never had a closed-door game, the threat was real enough that Mexican fans should have perhaps halted the chant.

Although "puto" is a commonly used phrase in Spanish, it does refer to homosexuals. In Mexico, various pundits and professional athletes have sounded off about the chant. Some find it offensive to the gay community, while others cite that the word is not being used with the literal translation in mind.

There are many words in the English language that have literal and practical applications. For the purposes of this article we will not list examples, but you can make the proper correlations for yourself.

Whatever the outcome with the use of the term "puto" in soccer, one thing has become obvious: the 12th man -- the fans in attendance -- can play a pivotal role in deciding sporting events.

Fans are excitable and pumped up on adrenaline, including Mexico's chanters. And while the term absolutely has some derogatory qualities, it seems FIFA has come to err on the side of caution with this one, giving the benefit of the doubt to the longstanding tradition. Like it or not.         

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