Three players from Sport Clube Gaúcho have had their contracts terminated after a video showing the men engaging in sexual acts in the team’s locker room went viral over the weekend. The three dismissed players–whose names have not been released to the public–were filmed by a fourth, unidentified player engaging in group masturbation while inside the dressing room areas. The video, which was reportedly recorded on Friday, quickly made the rounds, opening up the third division club to derision and criticism from media and fans alike.
Club president Gilmar Rosso spoke to Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte following the dismissals, reiterating that the players were released due to the acts having occurred on club property: “Outside business hours, we have nothing to do with the situation. If they want to get drunk, gay or not, that’s their problem,” said Rosso. “What I have to answer as president is during a trip, office hours. That’s my responsibility. The club is not a keeper of morals and good manners. The only thing we have to answer to is them making the video inside the locker room.”
Rosso did also say that he tried to watch the video, but “found it disgusting” and stopped shortly after.
The online response to the news has been, to say the least, disappointing; jokes about the Gaúcho region stereotype–that all its men are gay–outnumbered any reasoned discussion about the video or the dismissals, including the impact of it having been specifically gay sex portrayed in the video and that leading to the termination of the players’ contracts.
In fact, in an interview with UOL Sport, Rosso that the dismissal wasn’t just a reprisal for filming on club property, but also to help the players avoid fan jeers and insults: “Imagine when they enter the field, what they would have heard,” he said. “As far as I know, these three are not gay, but now they would have to prove that they are not gay” to the fans. In a sport where not many players are openly gay–Robbie Rogers’ coming out in 2013 was a huge sports story exactly due to its rarity–it’s likely that these three players would have faced hardships unlike any they or the club had seen before.
Of course, that could also be a cop-out from Rosso, and, given the context of his other comments, it seems more likely that this is PR spin to allow the club both to distance itself while feigning support for the players.
While the club is within its rights to dismiss the three futboleros here (after all, the video was filmed in the locker room, a big no-no), it does beg the question as to whether the punishment would have been the same if the video featured heterosexual acts, and whether it would even have made the news beyond a blurb in local news.