No, there hasn’t been an outbreak of mononucleosis south of the border. Merely a run of the mill case of homophobia amongst members of the FMF, Mexican soccer’s ruling body.
Seems Club América’s Christian “Chucho” Benitez and Matías “the Bull” Vuoso celebrated a goal over the weekend by nearly locking lips (see photo above). The FMF’s Disciplinary Committee reacted by launching an investigation (Span link) and calling for kisses on the lips to be banned from goal celebrations in the Mexican league. According to Alfonso Sabater, head of the FMF DC:
“We can’t allow them to present such an image to the public, the fans, the children; we cannot take it as a good example.”
In other words, WON’T SOMEBODY PLEEEASSE THINK OF THE CHILDREN??!
As you can imagine, others are upset about the FMF’s reaction. Who’s upset?
These guys, for starters.
That’s three of the members of “El Tri Gay” or the gay Mexican national soccer team (bronze medalists at the London 2008 Out Games). According to Andoni Bello (center), “Mexican soccer is totally intolerant. I’d love to see the moment when a sexually diverse person, who isn’t heterosexual but rather gay or bisexual could express himself freely in a match.”
Besides this incident, they also point to the longstanding tradition of home fans yelling “PUTO” (rough trans. “HOMO”) whenever the visiting keeper takes a goal kick as an example of homophobia run amok in Mexico.
Of course, you don’t have to be an LGBT activist to think that the FMF’s reaction is stupid. During a two minute commercial break at half time, children watching Las Aguilas on TV are exposed to content that makes a pantomimed gay kiss look like a model of chaste behavior by comparison. Never mind the fact that they’re being subjected to Mexican league soccer, which is rarely watchable (believe me, I’ve tried).
Gay rights issues aside, the more pertinent question for soccer fans is what sort of goal celebrations should be banned, if any. Most would agree that players should not be allowed to make gestures associated with racism, racist political groups, or violent militant groups. But what about more conventional political views? Could Landon Donovan celebrate a goal by lifting his Galaxy jersey to reveal a Romney 2012 campaign t-shirt?* In his capacity at that moment as employee of Major League Soccer, I doubt it. What about religious gestures? That’s a big can of worms. So how much freedom of self-expression should soccer leagues give their players? At what point does a league cracking down on players’ self-expression do more damage to its reputation than the expressions themselves?
I’ve got more questions than answers here, but it seems to me that the FMF’s latest move could backfire on them, if it hasn’t already. In trying to protect their league’s “family friendly” image, they may have heaped coals of public outrage on it.
*I have no idea what Landycakes thinks about politics, nor do I care. It’s just a hypothetical.