Soccer team LA Galaxy has come under fire for not stopping fans from chanting an anti-gay slur during the team’s LGBTQ Pride Night.
During a match against FC Dallas in May, fans started to chant “puto” throughout the night, despite it being a designated Pride game, intended to offer an inclusive space for LGBTQ people to enjoy a game without persecution.
Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times sports columnist and soccer expert, told Outsports that he did not hear the chants, but had them confirmed by various people also at the game.
“I thought we were past this, especially in MLS,” Baxter said. “It’s really embarrassing and hurtful — more so on a night set aside to celebrate pride at the stadium where the first gay professional athlete in American history made his debut.”
LA Galaxy has held its Pride Night for the last few years. This year, each ticket into the StubHub arena came with a Galaxy scarf that was Pride-themed. It was also available for purchase for those not attending the game, with a percentage going to the LGBTQ charity You Can Play Project, which sends LGBTQ youth to games.
In a statement, LA Galaxy spokesperson Chris Glidden said that the team “condemned” the slur and removed a few individuals from the stadium who used it.
“Going forward, our staff will be vigilant in order to continue to identify and eject any individuals that use this chant — or any hateful or discriminatory speech — from StubHub Center,” Glidden said.
Outsports was damning in its condemnation of LA Galaxy for allowing the chanting to occur. Cyd Zeigler, Outsports‘ co-founder, said that Major League Soccer needs to take such chants more seriously.
“The first time during a match any league or team employee, including officials, hears the “puto” chant, the game officials must stop the match,” Zeigler wrote, noting that the offending fans should be identified and removed from the stadium. If the chant occurs again, “the stadium must be cleared of all fans and the match completed in front of an empty stadium.”
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