Dear Mexico: Let Me Explain Something to You

Let me make this simple for you:

You've already lost.

Your hoary national "tradition" (dating way, way back almost 10 years now) of chanting something that many if not most people perceive as a gay-baiting slur at opposing goalkeepers is going to end.

Yell, stomp your feet, call everybody who disagrees a racist, hold your breath until you turn blue, whatever you want: it just doesn't matter.

Because you've already lost.

 

The fact that Mexican fans have been doing this at LigaMX games for a while now is not, as your coach told reporters yesterday, justification for allowing it to continue.

Neither does it represent, as another FMF official told the media in Rio, "free expression" which has to be allowed lest we impinge on someone's "rights".

And as for the Mexican TV host who was quoted yesterday as calling a bunch of people chanting "puto" at the top of their lungs "lovely, euphoric, and in no way homophobic", well, it's just embarrassing.

Besides, even if those arguments had the slightest bit of intellectual honesty it STILL wouldn't matter.

Because you've already lost.

It's true that everybody has known about this for a long time and nobody has ever said much of anything before, which may have given you the idea that you will be allowed to continue. You won't, and here's why:

Under FIFA's arcane, self-insulating protocols, having 70,000 people and the required FIFA delegate (who gets paid a hefty stipend and lavish expenses to sit in a box and watch the match) see and hear stuff is not enough.

A  FIFA-recognized entity has to file a formal complaint, at which point a disciplinary investigation is opened. Until then, nothing can happen.

Thus, while everybody knew full well that this crap went on at Mexico games, no formal complaint was ever filed and so FIFA could ignore it, which is their preferred attitude.

In Europe however, they have an outfit called FARE which monitors and reports on racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic fan behavior and it's head is a member of FIFA's Anti-Racism Committee.

CONCACAF has never had a parallel organization, so no one has ever filed an "official" report. For political reasons, Jack Warner would never have allowed it anyway.

Unfortunately for your beloved "puto" chant, FARE was invited to attend Brazil 2014 to monitor fan behavior, and they had representatives at Mexico/Brazil.

They're the ones who filed the complaint which, by statute, requires FIFA to open a disciplinary investigation.

Which is the moment when you lost.

FIFA's disciplinary committee will not be swayed by your contention that "puto" is not anti-gay, or that it's a "tradition" or any of the rest of it. Even if it were true, they wouldn't care. Perception is reality.

The reason for this, aside from the fact that the arguments for allowing fans to continue employing an ugly homophobic chant are lame, embarrassing and intellectually indefensible, is that you've cleverly managed to give FIFA a free opportunity to do what they love best:

Pretending that they care.

You may have noticed that FIFA gets a lot of ugly press. More and more every day, and they hate it.

At the moment they're pretty much buried in a negative public image over corruption, match fixing and racism, a constant barrage of bad press. More than anything else, they are desperate for things they can do which will reflect positively on themselves.

Like, for example, getting tough on homophobic fan behavior.

Are you beginning to see the light here?

You've lost.

In due course the wheels of FIFA justice will turn - slowly, slowly - and then the Disciplinary Committee will rule that Mexico has indeed violated fan behavior policy despite your protestations of how unfair it all is and issue a formal "warning" to the FMF.

Which would be laughable, except for the fact that the official disciplinary process mandates ongoing monitoring.

After the ruling which they surely will make despite your well-reasoned arguments (cough), Mexico will be watched by FIFA observers.

Now I'd truly like to believe that Mexico's fans, however they feel about the fairness of it all, will see the handwriting on the wall and stop the chant.

However, if it doesn't, then FIFA, which has determined that in these situations monetary fines do nothing, will issue sanctions which will start with deducting points (second offense) and finally banning spectators at Mexico matches.

Make no mistake, FIFA WILL do these things.  No one will come to Mexico's defense, the media will applaud FIFA's bold and aggressive leadership blah blah blah.

You've already lost.

It's not that FIFA cares one way or the other about anti-gay behavior. The Executive Committee has representatives from countries where homosexual activity can get you tossed in jail, the World Cup has a team from a country where gay men are occasionally executed and the vice-chair of the Disciplinary Committee which will rule against Mexico represents a country where male homosexual activity is illegal.

Hypocrisy? You bet. Welcome to FIFA.

None of it matters because you lost the second that FARE filed the complaint, giving FIFA only two choices:

a) Do nothing and be perceived as accepting and condoning what is widely seen as anti-homosexual behavior and end up taking even more abuse from the media and the global gay rights community or

b) Come down on Mexico and be applauded by those same people for standing foursquare in favor of tolerance and inclusiveness and against "hate" and, not coincidentally, burnishing Sepp Blattr's Nobel Prize nomination.

So you tell me which way they're going to go with this.

Go ahead and vent your spleens on me over this. I cannot possibly express how little I care.

But in the end it's not going to change the one basic fact in all of this:

You've already lost.