It was LGBTI Pride Night at a recent Chicago Fire soccer game and General Manager Nelson Rodriguez had something to get off of his chest.
After the Gay Men’s Chorus of Chicago performed the Star Spangled Banner, Rodriguez walked onto the field of Toyota Park alone.
‘An inappropriate and offensive chant has been used by some of our fans,’ Rodriguez said to the crowd, according to the Chicago Tribune. ‘It is unbecoming and certainly not reflective of the great city that we live in, and the best fans in major league soccer.
‘Please be advised that if the chant continues and you are found to be participating, you are subject to removal. If you are near fans using offensive language, please advise stadium security so we can handle that as well.’
The chant is simply one word: ‘Puto.’ It’s the Spanish word for a male prostitute and it is offensive to gay people.
The word is commonly chanted at games involving the Mexican national team.
‘This chant is offensive,’ Rodriguez told the Tribune after the game. ‘It’s vulgar, it’s inappropriate and it runs contrary I think — even in my short time here — to the spirit of Chicago, which at every turn I just find is warm and welcoming and friendly, and I’m of Latino descent.”
He added that the chant ‘is not clever or creative, or catchy or appropriate in any way.’
Rodriguez didn’t mind that he got a smattering of boos from some fans who didn’t approve of his taking a stand against the slur.
‘I don’t care if they don’t return,’ he said. ‘In fact, personally, if they are booing the message as opposed to booing the messenger, go find another team to support.’
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