By ALAN SNEL
After fans heard the anti-gay “puto” chant at last Saturday’s Las Vegas Lights FC soccer match at Cashman Field, LVSportsBiz.com asked the expansion team today if security and officials will crack down on fans who chant the ugly, offensive word at Saturday’s game.
To refresh your memory, LVSportsBiz.com published this story Monday. Puto is a horrible word meaning, “faggot,” in Spanish, and is chanted by some home fans when the visiting team’s goaltender boots the ball. It drew attention during the 2014 World Cup when Mexican fans chanted the anti-gay insult and FIFA, the world soccer governing body, has fined Mexico for fans using the term at games.
What is the team’s policy regarding fans chanting, “puto,” Saturday?
Spokesman Ryan Greene responded in an email by saying, “Our club policy on this can be found within our official Fan Code of Conduct.” Here is the code of conduct.
Here is the code’s elements that would apply to the use of the anti-gay insult.
- No obscene or abusive language, behavior or signs
- No chants with inappropriate language including any comments regarding racism, sexual orientation or ethnicity are permitted
- No fighting, taunting or threatening remarks and/or gestures
Owner Brett Lashbrook told LVSportsBiz.com of the puto chant Monday, “Of course it’s unacceptable. Of course it’s not tolerated . . . It was brought to our attention today. We have to work on how we will respond to this. It’s a challenge. It’s gone across Latin America and spread across the United States.”
JC Martin, who writes the popular Las Vegas Locally Twitter handle, offered this reaction.
“The team is in a tricky situation. They basically built everything from the ground up around the Vegas Hispanic community, because they knew that would constitute the majority of their ‘hardcore’ fan base. The puto chant comes from Mexico, and is popular among Mexican and Mexican-American fans. If they start kicking out lots of those fans they risk pissing off the entire community.”
LVSportsBiz.com also contacted the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), which manages the Lights’ venue, for comment Thursday. Here is the LVCVA’s statement: “The LVCVA does not condone behavior that demeans any segment of the population. Las Vegas is a welcoming community to everyone and we will continue to promote Southern Nevada as the greatest travel destination to the world.”
The Lights, which drew a sellout crowd of more than 10,000 fans Saturday night when it lost to the MLS Montreal Impact, 2-0, play their second preseason game in two days when the MLS Vancouver Whitecaps visit Cashman Field for an 8 p.m. game. A third preseason game is set for Feb. 24 when D.C. United visits Cashman to play the Lights.
The team’s first regular season game is March 17 in Fresno, Calif. and the regular season home-opener is March 24 when the in-state Reno 1868 FC comes to Cashman Field.
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