ATHLETES competing at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro have reported homophobic abuse from the stands.
A number of separate incidents have surfaced in recent days of an offensive anti-gay chant from the Brazilian crowd.
Onlookers repeatedly used the Brazilian word for ‘faggot’.
“I don’t understand the language or the culture or where that has evolved from,” Matildas couch Alen Stajcic said in a post-game interview.
The Los Angeles Times reported similar occurrences of the chant being directed at both the men and women’s teams from the United States.
“It is personally hurtful,” athlete Megan Rapinoe told the LA Times.
“I think sort of a mob mentality kind of takes over a little bit.”
The Brazilian press have stated that the slur isn’t being directed at anyone on an individual level and is something that originated at the 2014 World Cup, but U.S. midfielder Megan Rapinoe believes that the words have consequences.
“I don’t think most of those fans would have said that directly to my face. I don’t think they mean it in that way, but they need to understand that that’s how it’s taken,” the openly gay athlete said.
“They need to understand if all of you are willing to do that, what does that say to a gay player?
“What does that say to players who are struggling to come out?”