It was a watershed moment. After so many attempts and failures, Mexicans could finally hold their head high and be proud of themselves. They had accomplished what seemed impossible, and at a World Cup, no less: they had left the homophobic “¡Eeehhh puto!” chant behind.
Such a rooted tradition, with so much controversy around it, could only be banished by an equally powerful force: none other than Mexico’s own “El Sol,” Luis Miguel.
It began at the Mexico-Sweden game, where a group of Mexican fans was captured on camera starting the chant with the usual “¡Eeeeeeehhh!” But, in a plot twist, when the goalkeeper made contact with the ball, they didn’t complete the phrase and instead sang the lyrics to “Entrégate,” a classic, 20 year-old Luismi song. It was an oddly appropriate and hilarious replacement for the offensive chant. The footage of the fans singing quickly went viral.
For years, groups of Mexican fans have been chanting the offensive “eeh puto” phrase whenever the opposing goalkeeper does a goal kick, despite multiple campaigns from anti-discrimination groups, and the pleas of the Mexican Football Federation, which has had to foot the bill of a dozen FIFA fines. Defenders of the chant argue that it’s part of the local culture of the game and that its intention isn’t to offend, but their words clash with the reality of a country that is still very homophobic.
Players themselves, including Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, led several campaigns to stop the chant, but without much success. The chant was heard at Mexico’s first game against Germany, and FIFA immediately fined the Federation $10,000, warning that fans could be expelled from the World Cup or Mexico could lose points if the chant was heard again. Players like Chicharito and Andres Guardado took to social media to reinforce the message.
But usually, it works better to replace something than to just eliminate it, and “Entrégate” was an inspired choice. Luis Miguel is enjoying a renaissance of sorts thanks to a biographical series on Netflix that has reminded Mexicans why they fell in love with Luismi in first place. The reactions to the new chant have been overwhelmingly positive on social media.
The challenge now is to bring back the new chant back to Mexico and popularize it among those who didn’t attend the World Cup to finally put the embarrassing “Ehhhhh puto” to rest. We’ll see if the next time Mexico plays in the Estadio Azteca the fans “se entregan” a Luis Miguel.