Nelson Rodriguez Praises Chicago Fire Fans for Not Doing Anti-Gay Chant

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Chicago Fire General Manager Nelson Rodriguez just completed the second of his three media roundtable Q&A sessions this year, and unfortunately, there wasn’t any real hard breaking news to emerge from it. Rodriguez was evasive on the topics of Head Coach Veljko Paunovic’s job security and the potential long term home for the team.

He didn’t offer much insight or news-worthy quotes when the topic turned to playing in Solider Field either. However, when asked about the infamous anti-gay chant that Mexican soccer fans make on goal kicks, he gave a strong, impassioned response.

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Last night, in Chivas’ loss to Fiorentina in the International Champions Cup, the “puto” chant (which translates to “gay male prostitute” was heard repeatedly in Seatgeek Stadium during the second half.

It was also heard loud and clear throughout the Gold Cup Final at Soldier Field 10 days ago, when Mexico beat the United States. You can read more on the chant, its history and origin, and FIFA’s recent attempts to stamp it out over at this link.

Nelson Rodriguez has been as proactive as anybody in trying to eradicate the “ehhh, puto!” screaming ritual, and it has been three years now since he looked up into the stands from standing on the pitch and announced that any fan found to be using the slur would be ejected from the venue.

Sadly, the homophobic chant persists, but you won’t hear it at Chicago Fire games!

“I think our fans deserve a lot of credit, because they don’t do it,” Nelson Rodriguez said at the roundtable today.

“That chant is predominant in Mexican soccer, and I think that’s fair to say. We have a large fan base that has Mexican heritage and they don’t do it here. It is offensive and it has no place in soccer.”

Rodriguez hopes the chant goes away, and he’s been as vocal as anyone in denouncing it.

“It doesn’t do anything to add a positive element,” he continued.

“I don’t know what FIFA can do I’m just grateful that our fans have agreed that that’s not representative of the spirit of the citizens of Chicago and we don’t do it. I’m grateful to them and our fans for all of that.”

“If I had answer, If I had a solution I’d offer it, I just hope people come to their senses, and realize how offensive that is. There are better ways to show love and support and there are better ways to show frustration than homophobic chants.”

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In 2016, Nelson Rodriguez told the crowd at a Fire home game:

“An inappropriate and offensive chant has been used by some of our fans. 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.”

Shortly thereafter, in an interview with the Tribune he said:

“This chant is offensive. 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.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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