While there were many incredible moments at Empower Field at Mile High during the US men's national team's win over Mexico on Sunday, there was once again the ugly presence of a homophobic chant that forced the match to pause. It is a chant that many have spent years trying to root out, including Mexican international and broadcaster Janelly Farias.
Farias joined the latest edition of The Call Up to share her recommendations to get rid of the discriminatory chant once and for all, outlining a pair of suggestions.
Janelly Farias on Eradicating the Homophobic Chant From the Game
"I could go two routes with this," Farias said. "One is a very aggressive route and it's just zero tolerance. Hear it once and just end the game. I think there's so many loopholes in these protocols. It's like step one, step two, step three but who's really enforcing this? It's very difficult to monitor that. I think we've been warned for years and so the fact that they have to give a warning before the game, a warning when it's said and then another warning, it's not going to work. I genuinely don't think it's going to work."
Since 2017, FIFA has recommended a three-step protocol for dealing with such chants. The first step is to halt play, then if the chant continues to take the players back to the locker room and finally to abandon the game.
Farias' second suggestion is less harsh, and more creative in her description: replacing the chant entirely.
"Instead of trying to say let's eliminate this chant, I think we replace it," she said. "I think we could put in a [word] to give fans the opportunity to get creative and see how we can replace this and make it something positive."
Regardless of approach, Farias said that the priorities of those with authority need to change. She directly questioned how much governing bodies in the sport care about the issue, and their failure to even acknowledge how hurtful the chant is.
"I think in order for us to generate real change, we have to recognize the root of the problem and if we're not recognizing the root of the problem, things are never going to change," she said. "it doesn't matter whether you mean it or not, whether it's intentional or not. The truth and the reality is that it is harmful, it is homophobic, and it excludes people and soccer should be universal. Soccer should be inclusive.
"I think a lot of people just go along with it because they just comply so that they can continue playing so their teams can stay on the field and I think that's wrong. I think that's the wrong approach."
Listen to more from Farias and the latest around MLS on this week's episode of The Call Up.