The hypocrisy of woke corporations is in plain sight, and it became clear a few days ago, after FIFA decreed a severe punishment against the Mexican national team, in retaliation against the fans of that country for their habit of shouting “¡eehhhh, puto!” (Spanish for “fag”) when the goalkeeper of the opposing team takes a goal kick. According to FIFA, the shout is homophobic and therefore punishable. Ironically, the soccer corporation sees nothing “punishable” about organizing the World Cup in truly homophobic countries
On June 18, it was announced that FIFA notified the Mexican Football Federation that it had been sanctioned again because of the chanting of its fans, so the Mexican national team will have to play behind closed doors the first two matches of the qualifiers for the World Cup in Qatar 2022, in addition to paying a new fine of 60,000 Swiss francs (approximately $65,000 dollars).
These punishments correspond to the sanction imposed for the behavior of the stands in the matches played by Mexico last March (against the Dominican Republic and the United States) and there is still at least one more punishment for the shouts registered on May 29 in the match against Iceland.
Following the news, Yon de Luisa, president of the Mexican Soccer Federation, reaffirmed the call for fans to abandon homophobic shouting and explained that this could be devastating for Mexican soccer, as it could even jeopardize Mexico’s hosting of the 2026 World Cup, which the country will share with America and Canada since, as he explained: “How could we ever host a World Cup if we are going to have empty stadiums?”
The origin of the chant
In the words of its creator (a fan nicknamed Mosh, who was part of the Mexican Atlas team’s cheering squad), the chant came about during a match between the Mexico and United States teams in 2004.
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The idea became an almost instant success and a few weeks later the shout was heard in all Mexican league stadiums and even crossed borders, especially to the United States and some other parts of Latin America.
Now, it is evident that the aforementioned insult has a homophobic cultural background, but it is also clear to anyone who analyzes the subject with a minimum of intellectual honesty that nowadays the word “puto” has many meanings and nuances that are not homophobic. In fact, this word has become a colloquial catchphrase similar to “fuck” in English.
Therefore, although the word in its origin is the result of a culture with homophobic overtones, as have been the vast majority of the world’s cultures for millennia, the cry itself is not an insult directed specifically at homosexual people and, therefore, to treat it with the same rigidity that FIFA devotes to other types of insults in stadiums is, to put it in soccer terms, “rigorist.”
That said, FIFA’s supposed interest in fighting homophobia goes from questionable rigorism to the realm of the absurd when we remember that the highest international soccer body awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia (where there are various restrictions on what the government interprets as LGBT advertising) and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, a country where homosexuality is outright illegal.
Yes, next year’s World Cup will be held in a country where being homosexual is considered a crime punishable by jail and even death penalty. In this context, it makes no sense for Mexico to be sanctioned for shouting “puto” with a punishment to be applied during the qualifiers for a World Cup that will be played in a place where homosexuality is socially, legally and institutionally punished.
And it is not that FIFA is unaware of this “detail”, because even in 2010 the infamous Joseph Blatter, who at that time headed FIFA, advised homosexual fans to “refrain from any sexual activity” if they were to attend the World Cup in Qatar.
This is not an isolated case; a dozen countries, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, consider homosexuality a crime that deserves even death, but they play the qualifiers and World Cups without FIFA saying anything to them, just as it does not say anything to another fifty or so nations where homosexuality is considered a crime.
FIFA’s double standard exemplifies a progressive hypocrisy that is increasingly evident in the corporate world, particularly in the month of June, when transnational companies adorn their social networks in the West with pride flags, while keeping their accounts in the Middle East and a good part of Africa and Asia in strict black and white.
Activists or companies?
We are facing a real organizational schizophrenia in which companies seem willing to do everything possible to promote progressive causes, which are even above business… as long as it is good business. It’s progressive hypocrisy, then.
This is the inevitable result of a tension that has arisen especially during the last decade in the corporate world between activism and business, as the old, apolitical social responsibility became an obligatory commitment to the progressive agenda to “have a positive social impact on the world,” defined by the leftist paradigms that are promoted as dogma in the elite universities where the top and middle management of big business are trained.
Corporate activism has become an increasingly intense demand for companies, which justify it as part of the sense of meaning required by the new generations of the workforce, and yes, maybe “diversity”, the gender agenda and other progressive issues are good business in New York or the San Francisco Bay Area, but big business does not live solely on what it can sell on the shores of America.
In the rest of the world, particularly in Islamic civilization and in large parts of Africa and Asia, such messages are poisonous for business, which puts companies at a crossroads between their natural vocation to generate profits through the sale of products and the artificial vocation to be spokespersons for a political agenda.
So far, they have been able to get by with a double standard, but as the progressive agenda becomes more radical, the point will come when transnationals will no longer be able to maintain two different messages, deepening internal conflicts that organizations will only be able to resolve when their managers and workers confront and decide whether they want to do business or do activism, because (and this is what really makes the progressives angry) you cannot be everything at the same time. Companies, NGOs and political parties must be cooked separately.
But that will be in the medium term. In the meantime, Mexicans will have to break with the habit of shouting “puto” in the stadiums, or face the consequences. No way, that’s how it is to live in these putos tiempos.
Gerardo Garibay Camarena, is a doctor of law, writer and political analyst with experience in the public and private sectors. His new book is "How to Play Chess Without Craps: A Guide to Reading Politics and Understanding Politicians" // Gerardo Garibay Camarena es doctor en derecho, escritor y analista político con experiencia en el sector público y privado. Su nuevo libro es “Cómo jugar al ajedrez Sin dados: Una guía para leer la política y entender a los políticos”