Being an expansion club, that literally has no history, Atlanta United and its supporters have a chance to create something special and organically from the ground up. They can do this by stopping hateful chants before they become customary.
If you attended the match on Saturday in Chattanooga you saw or heard several things: A packed house, new jerseys, chemistry from the players and supporters chants. What you might have heard during those chants was the “ P***” chant during a goal kick in the second half. This chant primarily done in Liga MX, doesn't belong with our club nor should it be tolerated. The origins of the chant are blurred and ultimately irrelevant. What matters is its offensive nature. In Spanish, the term means prostitute, and Spanish, like other romance languages, has gendered nouns (a noun is either male or female). Thus, the chant being used is the masculine form, meaning a male prostitute. The p*** chant is a form of prejudice and homophobia, but the fans who decided to use it need to be educated, not necessarily chided.
Everything the club has done from a front office perspective has been fantastic; the name release party, jersey party and “retiring” the #17 jersey for the fans. This club is represented by US the fans both on and off the pitch. All of the supporters groups( Terminus Legion, Footie Mob and Resurgence) have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to these sort of chants and promote inclusivity.
Terminus Legions’ own code of conduct, which you can find in its entirety here, clearly states:
Racism, discrimination, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and disrespect towards fellow fans or fans of other teams have no place in Terminus Legion. How you conduct yourself in and outside the stadium, at your chapter bars, and online–in both words and actions–reflects on all of us...
[If you see individuals acting in a way or ways that violate our code of conduct, let them know, let us know, and please don’t participate in or encourage it. There is no excuse for watching something happen and not intervening. Everyone must be held accountable for his or her individual actions, and that means that there are no bystanders.]
I reached out to the Terminus Legion Guard (the enforcers of the Code Of Conduct) to see if I could get a comment on the use of the chant during the game and what steps were taken to mitigate it however at the time of publishing this article, no comment has been given.
However, regardless of having a Code of Conduct (whether mandated by Major League Soccer or the supporters group) , we as supporters of Atlanta United should have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to these sorts of homophobic chants that directly and indirectly change the perception of our club: in the region, around the league and throughout the rest of the world. The easiest way to accomplish eradicating this chant from our vernacular is to self police. When/if you see individuals starting this chant, take an opportunity to suggest other chants or another word to say during goal kicks.
Of course, there will always be that rogue person(s) in a group that feels its necessary to try and start this chant but all it does it make the supporter groups of the club look bad and the club itself look bad. In 2017, we are better than that.
So if you hear somebody next to you shout the derogatory chant at a game, make sure they know it’s not acceptable. Contact the supporter group leaders and make sure they are aware. Until we educate somebody who is subtly being offensive, we have little hope of changing behaviors or attitudes. We are better than this, lets rise up and put this chant to rest once and for all!