The Mexican national soccer team — also known as Selección de futbol de México — recently released a video as part of its "Let's Hug for Soccer" campaign to promote tolerance among its fans.
According to Fusion, the video is helping Team Mexico take on the use of the word "puto," the Spanish term that many equate to the anti-gay slur, "faggot." It is regularly chanted during soccer matches, with Fusion reporting that it's often directed toward the goalie of the opposing team during penalty kicks.
Fusion points out that some defenders of the term say it means something closer to "coward" rather than being homophobic.
The Mexican national soccer team was fined more than $20,000 over a past incident, in which the crowd chanted the slur during a high-profile game. That seems to suggest that the word carries more social as well as financial weight — even if the campaign video in question doesn't directly address it. Instead, the Mexican Soccer Federation seems to be focusing on combatting racism and general discrimination rather than explicitly going up against homophobia, reports Outsports.
In the clip, players on the team recite inclusive messages, which, according to ESPN Deportes, roughly translate to: "For us, the differences are not a barrier," "We do not discriminate," "We respect the views of all," and "Every person is worthy of respect."
Toward the end of the video, several players are seen with their hands extended and two fingers crossed. Adorably, the fingers have smiley faces drawn on them. The visual seems to signify two people hugging, which brings it back to the theme of the Team Mexico's campaign.
Financially motivated or not, the move by the Mexican national soccer team and its players is a huge step in fighting discrimination. It's a loud voice from a powerful institution, and follows in the footsteps of Adidas taking on homophobic trolls and encouraging inclusivity in sports instead of name-calling.
Kudos to Team Mexico!