The San Jose Earthquakes have issued a statement regarding the use of a derogatory slur used by fans aimed primarily at the LGBT community during their match against the LA Galaxy at Stanford Stadium Saturday night.
“We are extremely disappointed and shocked at the behavior of a portion of our fan base during our match tonight at Stanford Stadium. As an organization, we do not tolerate or condone this type of speech at our matches. It violates the Earthquakes and Major League Soccer's Fan Code of Conduct and any fan found in violation of this code is subject to expulsion and further punishment.”
The chant of “eehhh, puto!” roared loud across Stanford Stadium beginning in the middle of the first half of the match whenever Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe put the ball back into play with a goal kick.
Translated from Spanish, the term is slur aimed primarily at people who identify LGBT and has longed been used by fans of the Mexican National Team.
“We pride ourselves on creating an inclusive and family-friendly environment for all fans,” the statement continues. “We will take an immediate leadership role in combating this type of behavior for the rest of the season and beyond.”
After the match, Quakes midfielder Shea Salinas, who assisted in the dramatic goal that leveled the game late for San Jose, said “there is no room for this behavior” from Quakes fans and that he and his teammates “certainly do not condone” those actions.
The Quakes played in Orlando a week ago, taking part in ceremonies honoring the lives taken in a shooting at the Pulse nightclub that killed 49 people.
A “We stand with Orlando” banner hung in the stadium during the match.
The LA Galaxy’s Robbie Rogers is an openly gay footballer, coming out in 2012. He did not play on Saturday as he is out until early August with an ankle injury. Rogers has made 10 starts and 12 appearances in MLS action for the Galaxy.
Former San Jose Earthquake Matt Hatzke came out as gay in 2015.
FIFA recently released several statements regarding the chant as it related to the Copa America Centenario matches involving the Mexican National Team saying “this behavior does not reflect the true spirit of football and must be stopped.” In May, FIFA fined the Mexican federation $57,000 for the fans' behavior in the past year and threatened further consequence if the chant continued.
Prior to the start of Mexico’s matches in Copa America, Univision broadcasters read a statement explaining the broadcast company’s stance against the slur.
“We recognize that during the game there may be language, or chants, from some fans in the stadium that are offensive to some members of our viewing audience and wider community. Although we realize this can happen in any televised sporting event, we do not, in any case, condone or endorse the use of such language. Univision Communications Inc. supports a Copa América Centenario that is inclusive, one that celebrates the diversity of the sport we love and can be enjoyed by all— absent what can be the hurtful consequences of certain words. In this regard, we strive to make sure that our own coverage and commentary is respectful and inclusive of all, including the LGBT community. This is our commitment to our audience, our community and our partners.”