The Red Bulls won their season opener. A come from behind victory on the road. And opposing fans, of expansion team Atlanta United, used gay slurs.
A habit in Mexican soccer, shouting this homophobic word on goal kicks, has been spreading through MLS.
Not at Red Bull Arena. Not in the South Ward. Thank goodness. But by visiting fans and at other stadiums? Yes.
To their credit, Atlanta quickly denounced use of the slur and threatened fans chanting it with ejection.
Later, Grant Wahl reported MLS is making elimination of The Chant a priority.
I don’t believe them.
I personally contacted MLS and NYCFC in 2015 after visiting NYCFC fans used it at RBA. I never heard back from either of them and NYCFC has never stopped using it and MLS has never addressed it.
Now it’s used by NYCFC, Chicago, LA, Colorado, Atlanta. Maybe more.
Why is it a priority only two years later? Why wasn’t it a priority when queer fans started complaining two years ago?
I hope MLS is serous about eradicating it. But I’m not holding my breath.
In the meantime I’ll continue to dread goal kicks and give thanks that the South Ward would not and will not allow that sort of bigotry. They fly the rainbow flag every game and I’ve never felt unsafe in that section.
I wish I could say the same of other sections, other games. I wish MLS had adressed this before it started spreading.
I wish it were less fraught to be queer at a sporting event.