Watch: Soccer Star Sebastian Lletget Apologizes For Trolling Teammate with Homophobic Slur

Saturday April 10, 2021

Sebastian Lletget
Sebastian Lletget  (Source:Instagram)

Dictionary.com defines "puto" as "a homophobic slur along the lines of gay or fag, though it may also have the force of bitch. Like the English gay and fag, puto can demean a man as cowardly due to homophobic stereotypes of gay men."

So why would USMNT and LA Galaxy player soccer star Sebastian Lletget post a video of himself using the word on teammate Julian Araujo to his 689,000 Instagram followers?


After Outsports contacted "spokespeople for the Galaxy and USMNT, seeking comment, Lletget deleted the video," the site reported. "Less than two hours later, Lletget reached out to our Cyd Zeigler, telling him by phone he wanted to apologize for his actions and take full responsibility."


His statement reads in full:

"I messed up. Earlier today, I posted a video that included me using a derogatory slur in Spanish.

"I have taken down a video from my Instagram story but want to address its impact and not hide from this. I take full responsibility and ownership on what was an extremely poor and ill-thought phrase and have no excuse for my actions. I am sorry and know the pain that this term has caused for so many.

"I want to be part of the solution — not part of the problem — and continue to be an advocate and an ally for the LGBTQ+ community. Those who know me know my character and heart. I will remain outspoken in my support and advocacy. My error doesn't change that.

"Thanks for your accountability. I need to do and be better."

Julian Araujo responds to Sebastian Lletget's slur  (Source: YouTube)

The L.A. Galaxy also reached out to Outsports with a statement: "The L.A. Galaxy do not condone homophobic or derogatory language of any kind. The club stands with the LGBTQ+ community and will address this matter internally."

Lletget has been on the USMNT since 2017 and has represented the United States internationally since he was a teenager. He has been with the Galaxy since 2015. Araujo is also on both the Galaxy and USMNT.

There is a history of the term's use at soccer events. In 2018 the Guardian reported on how the word became an international slur. "(I)ts use by fans at matches from Mexico City to California and now Russia continues to give FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) and the Mexican federation headaches," wrote the Guardian that year. "On Monday, Fifa announced it has opened a disciplinary procedure against Mexico after the chants were heard during El Tri's victory over Germany."




Outsports added: "Major League Soccer has spent years trying to stop fans from chanting the "puto" gay slur during matches, including those hosted by both Los Angeles-based teams, LAFC and the Galaxy. In 2018, fans chanted the slur during the Galaxy's Pride Night. MLS has said it has a zero-tolerance policy for this slur."

"The use of the term Fifa issued 51 disciplinary actions over homophobia during 2018 World Cup qualifiers," wrote The Guardian. "Of these, 11 were handed to the Mexican federation, with Argentina, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama and Peru also receiving multiple fines. Fifa additionally cited Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Greece, Hungary and Serbia once each for homophobic chants."

The slur has taken hold, most notably in Mexico, because it demeans the masculinity of its target. "To call your opponent homosexual is definitely along a spectrum of machismo, whereby your opponent is weaker — less masculine," Joshua Nadel, author of "Fútbol!: Why Soccer Matters in Latin America," told The Guardian.

"This was not a private interaction, and there was clear intent for the whole public to see it, as it did not register with the player that this might become a big deal," opined Outsports. "Still, as we know, the use of slurs like this don't mean the athlete is anti-gay. It will be interesting to see how this publicly plays out in the days ahead. Araujo also shared the video from his Instagram story (note: no longer available) with the caption: "Y'all stay tuned...." The caption ended with a steam-from-nose face emoji."

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