Anti-gay slurs chanted from home supporters in Mexico Thursday during World Cup Qualifying cast a shadow over what will go down as a historic draw for Canada’s men’s soccer team.
Shocking stuff in this Mexico-Canada match as ref pauses play due to homophobic chants from Mexico supporters. Truly disgusting. Stronger action from CONCACAF and FIFA needed.
— Martin MacMahon (@martinmacmahon) October 8, 2021
The situation forced match officials to pause play at Azteca Stadium when the homophobic chants rang out around the hour mark.
Officials were forced to issue a warning to fans in the stadium before the match got back underway moments later, ending in a tie, with Canada picking up a valuable away point against the top-ranked team in CONCACAF — the governing body for soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) October 8, 2021
This was not the first time Mexico supporters gave been reprimanded for homophobic rhetoric.
FIFA originally ordered Mexico to play two home games without fans after chants, which used a derogatory term for a male sex worker, were heard at an Olympic qualifying tournament in June.
The penalty was eventually reduced to one game, allowing fans to be in attendance for the 1-1 draw against Canada.
In addition to the suspension of fans from the stadium, the Mexican Football Federation was also fined about $65,000.
Related article: Canada notches impressive draw in Mexico in World Cup qualifying
Mexican fans persist in aiming the chant at opposing teams’ goalkeepers, despite the repeated consequences.
However, homophobia and homophobic chants are not just a problem among Mexico fans.
According to the Guardian, FIFA issued 51 disciplinary actions during 2018 World Cup qualifiers related to homophobic actions.
While many of the actions were directed toward Mexico fans, supporters of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, and more were also fined.
Change needed, says advocate
Colin McKenna with PFLAG Vancouver says he isn’t entirely shocked by homophobic chants, adding many in the LGBTQ2S+ community feel unwelcome in sports.
“It’s a long standing issue for LGBTQ people to feel uncomfortable in sports venues or in the sports world, and this is a reason why. Many of us growing up heard similar things in sports arenas or similar places…it’s very disappointing,” McKenna said.
He is calling for accountability so people understand there are consequences to this kind of behaviour.
“[Officials] have a responsibility to make it clear that it won’t be acceptable going forward, and if that means that Mexico is disqualified entirely perhaps that’s what they need to do. It’s something that unless the organization takes a very firm stand it will just continue to happen,” he said.
He adds PFLAG works with parents and families to help them understand and accept their LGBTQ2+ children, adding these kinds of incidents have a huge impact on younger people.
“These types of events hold a ton of weight. The children in that country hear it, they see it, if it’s someone who is young and hasn’t yet come out, imagine the power that this holds?”
-With files from The Associated Press
Hall of Famer Mike Bossy reveals lung cancer battle – Toronto Sun
Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Bossy has been diagnosed with lung cancer.
Bossy, 64, announced his illness on Tuesday in an open letter in French on TVA Sports’ website. He is stepping away from his analyst job at TVA Sports, with whom he has worked since 2015.
“Today it is with sadness that I must retire from your screens for a mandatory break,” Bossy wrote in French. “A necessary break during which I will have to receive treatment for lung cancer.
“I can tell you that I intend to fight with the determination and the enthusiasm that you have seen me display on the ice and in my game. That same determination that helped me achieve my dreams and my goals, the one that propelled me to the top of my sport, when I still put on my skates.”
The NHL acknowledged Bossy’s battle on its publc relations account on Twitter: “The @NHL family is with you, Mike Bossy.”
A four-time Stanley Cup winner with the New York Islanders (1980-83), Bossy recorded 1,126 points (573 goals, 553 assists) in 752 career games. The eight-time All-Star spent his entire 10-season NHL career with the Islanders.
Bossy won the 1978 Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year, and the 1982 Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs. He also was a three-time Lady Byng Memorial Trophy recipient (1982-83, 1983-84, 1985-86).
A chronic back injury forced Bossy to retire following the 1986-87 season. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.
“The battle I am about to wage will not be easy,” Bossy wrote. “Know that I will give my 100 percent, nothing less, with the objective of meeting you again soon, after a very eventful hockey game. You will never be very far in my thoughts. On the contrary, you will occupy a privileged place and you will be one of my motivations to get better.”
Raptors Notes: Boucher, Roster, Nurse, Tax – hoopsrumors.com
After missing the entire preseason due to a dislocated finger, Raptors big man Chris Boucher has been cleared to return for the team’s regular season opener, writes Lori Ewing of The Canadian Press (link via The Toronto Star).
Boucher had a breakout year in 2020/21, averaging 13.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 1.9 BPG in 60 games (24.2 MPG). He’s expected to once again play a regular role in the Raptors’ frontcourt this season before becoming eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2022.
“My whole career, my whole time in Toronto, nothing has been promised … I had to work for everything, I see it the same way this year,” Boucher said of his mindset in a contract year, per Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link). “… At the end of the day I gotta be consistent, that’s the one remaining thing I gotta focus on.”
Here’s more on the Raptors:
- Toronto’s roster, which is heavy on long, versatile forwards, is unlikely any group the franchise has put together in its 27 years of existence, opines Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. As Smith observes, 11 of the Raptors’ 15 players on standard contracts have listed heights of at least 6’7″, but none are taller than 6’9″.
- Having lost veteran leaders like Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, and Marc Gasol in recent years, head coach Nick Nurse will be tasked with leading a less experienced group this season, Smith writes for The Toronto Star. While Nurse adjusts his style to accommodate the new-look roster, Fred VanVleet says he’s helping the newcomers adapt to Nurse’s outside-the-box approach to coaching. “He’s a little weird at times, but he won us a championship, so he knows what he’s doing,” VanVleet said.
- Following the Raptors’ roster cuts on the weekend, Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca took an in-depth look at the team’s cap and tax situation and which recently-waived players are – or aren’t – expected to play in the G League with the Raptors 905. Toronto’s team salary is currently above the luxury tax line, but the club still has the flexibility to duck below that line after pushing back the salary guarantee dates for Sam Dekker and Isaac Bonga.
Raptors reveal starting lineup for season opener vs. Wizards – Yahoo Canada Sports
After weeks of speculation, we finally know who Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse is using in his starting lineup — at least to start the season.
The Raptors announced Fred VanVleet, Goran Dragic, Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby and Precious Achiuwa as their starting five for Wednesday’s season-opening game against the Washington Wizards at Scotiabank Arena. It’s not the most surprising lineup, with Dragic beating out Gary Trent Jr. and Achiuwa earning the nod over fellow big men Khem Birch and Chris Boucher.
The frontcourt doesn’t possess much size, but Barnes, Anunoby and Achiuwa are all long players with plenty of athleticism to boot. That should make for a strong defensive unit, even without a traditional centre.
In VanVleet and Dragic, the Raptors feature a veteran backcourt that can facilitate for teammates and knock down the three-point shot with consistency.
Whether this five-man unit will be the norm going forward or if Toronto will adapt game-to-game based on matchups remains to be seen.
Nurse said he plans to use nine or 10 players in his rotation on opening night, meaning Birch, Trent, Boucher, and Svi Mykhailiuk should all see minutes off the bench.
Boucher was questionable after missing the entire preseason with a dislocated finger, but Nurse confirmed he was available against the Wizards.
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