Judge shows homophobia’s grip on Brazil in ruling against soccer player
August 7, 2007 by William K. Wolfrum
There is much to admire about Brazil. The homophobia that’s so ingrained in the culture is not one of them, however.
Recently, a soccer player for defending Brazil League champion and current leader Sao Paulo named Richarlyson was accused of being gay on a television show by the manager of rival Palmeiras. Richarlyson sued for the Brazilian equivalent of defamation of character.
Judge Manoel Maximiniano Junqueira Filho threw out the suit, saying soccer was a virile masculine sport and not a homosexual one, and that the player could just go on the same show and deny he was gay, or keep quiet about it (and if he kept quiet about it and was gay, he should still quit soccer).
The complete ruling, in Portuguese, can be found by clicking here. Here are some translated excerpts:
“It’s not that a homosexual can’t play ball. If he wants, than play it. However, form his own team and start another federation. Schedule games with those that prefer to fight against themselves.”
“What I can not understand is why the gay association of Bahia and a few columnists insist on promoting gay athletes in the field.”
“Jeez, if this fad catches on, soon we will have a quota system, forcing the access of so many of them per team.”
“And don’t say that this opening will be in the same way that it happened when blacks started to be part of the teams. It is a completely different thing. If a black is also a homosexual, he should also avoid being part of heterosexual soccer teams.”
“But the black obtained success (in many activities) very important to the history of Brasil: the biggest and most complete attacker ever seen, is called Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pelé), and he is black.”
“What is not reasonable is the acceptance of homosexuals in Brazilian soccer because they would harm the uniformity of thinking of the team, the togetherness, the balance, and the ideal.”
“Not even to mention the uncomfortable feeling of the fan, who wants to go to the stadium, sometimes with his son, and see his beloved team succeeding in the competition, instead of losing oneself in analysis of the behavior of this or that athlete with an obvious personality or existential problem, making it uncomfortable also for the teammates, the coach , the technical commission and the managers of the club.”
“By the way, this popular saying is very precise:
Each one in their own area, each monkey in their own branch, each rooster in their own coop, each king in their own deck of cards.
That is what I think, and because I think like this, in the condition of a judge, I say it!”
As you can see, the judge, dissatisfied with just being a homophobe, showed off his racist and sexist stripes, as well. A complaint has been filed against the judge – who serves for life unless guilty of a felony – for his homophobic remarks.
This issue will likely quickly gain steam in the Brazilian media, and outrage here over it will likely build to a point. And while there definitely are many Brazilians that will strongly protest the judge’s ruling, it’s a real example of the thinking that can dominate in this South American giant.