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Do Soccer Celebrations Go Too Far For American TV Viewers?

soccer players kissing Do Soccer Celebrations Go Too Far For American TV Viewers?

Slowly but surely some of my repressed memories of being a soccer fan in the States are coming back to me.

Almost a year ago, I wrote about the common “soccer is for fags” insults I remembered hearing in the 1980s. Then, all of a sudden last week, I remembered another insult that American jocks used to hurl my way, one that had long been stuck in the back of my brain.

We’ve seen the scene countless times. A footballer scores an amazing goal and runs to the side of the pitch in celebration, diving head first across the pitch and being jumped on by his teammates. The elation that players and fans feel is immense especially in a sport where it’s so difficult to score and goals are few and far between.

It’s not uncommon to see a footballer kiss a teammate in celebration.

To macho American men, though, this is a massive no-no. Most American men have accepted a woman kissing another woman, either as a greeting or sexually speaking, but for two guys to kiss each other as a way of celebrating a goal is severely looked down upon.

To be fair, it’s not part of American or British culture, although it is more commonly accepted in the UK especially during the highs of sporting events. In South America and continental Europe, it’s quite common for men to greet each other this way.

So when I was going through high school in the 80s and I had to defend soccer and explain why it was a real sport, the common response was that I was a fag for liking the game.

The hypocrisy about American sports though is that it’s okay for a man to smack a teammates butt but a kiss is out of the question.

It’s no longer the 1980s but some of the stereotypes about soccer still unfortunately exist.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

28 Responses to Do Soccer Celebrations Go Too Far For American TV Viewers?

  1. Weston says:

    I hear ya Gaff, you made a funny point that such a macho and borderline-homophobic culture like we have here allows for smacking a guy's ass, but the euro-kiss is out of the question…you can give baseball the credit for that I guess.

    I do have to admit though – that picture atop the article is very funny to me.

    • jmc says:

      Though English footballers hug one another, it is pretty rare for full on kisses. And the few times I’ve seen it, it’s been the foreign players that do it. The funny photo above would make the newspaper headlines if it were English players or teams.
      As for Americans thinking English are gay for hugging in celebration – that’s just ridiculous. Their sports are the gayest sports on the planet. For instance, when I think ‘American sports’ I think 4 things; American football, ice hockey, baseball and basketball.
      Firstly, American football is the same as rugby over here except no-one wears all that gay protective pads and crash helmets. How ridiculous do they look – they’re supposed to be big, grown, hard men and they look like big children all protected and pampered.
      We have hockey over here too but it’s only really ever played by school girls.
      Our version of baseball is called rounders and again, played by young school girls.
      And finally, basketball. We have netball. And guess what, it too is only played by young girls.

      When ever I hear yanks saying ‘sissy soccer’ I really do chuckle quietly to myself from the enormous sense of irony. It would be like Roseanne calling me fat. Like Clint Howard calling me ugly. Like George Bush calling me stupid. It is so ridiculous. But the greatest thing about it all is that Americans think that their sports AREN’T gay and are proud of them. hehehehehehehehehe.

    • Jocelyn says:

      I cant wait to kiss you

  2. Stephen says:

    Did anyone else catch the Sony commercial during the Cowboys/Green Bay game last night?

    A guy walks into an electronics store to buy an HD TV, when he is confronted by a panel of “experts”, including Peyton Manning and curiously, someone dressed as a chicken. Manning goes on to explain that most football games are filmed using Sony HD cameras, so wouldn't it make sense to watch the game on a Sony HDTV?

    The guy responds with something along the lines of “When you say football, do you mean soccer as well?”. At which the panel of experts look at each other and burst out laughing.

    Now I'm not exactly sure what message Sony was trying give, but it didn't make me feel like I wanted to buy anything Sony anytime soon..

  3. TB says:

    Be real now. A smack on the ass is way different than an emotional open mouthed kiss.
    And I saw the Sony commerical, not that bad really. Just a jibe at soccer, so what. Justin Timerberlake made a joke about soccer and David Beckham at the ESPYs and nobody jumped down his throat or ESPN's about it.

  4. footballer says:

    If you guys keep referring to football by that gay name, I'll complain even further.

    But seriously, you can't blame Peyton and JB for laughing. Who can like football when it's called that? Come on guys, defend the name of our sport.

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  6. If you call it "football" then spell it right says:

    If you have a problem with it being called soccer and want to call it football then spell it by it’s proper spelling Futbol. with a slash on top of the u which I don’t know how to do… Soccer is a great sport. I love reading, talking, watching, and playing it. As though I’m guessing most if not all of you are guys, I am not. I’m female and soccer is my passion. Where I live soccer is a guy sport and usually the shun girls for wanting to play; Girls are a joke if they play soccer here. It’s stupid that in one place it’s a “fag” sport and in another girls are a joke, shunned, or called a dike if they play soccer.

  7. peaches says:

    why does everyone have such a negative attitude twords soccer/futbol i mean at school everyone is always calling the guys that play soccer pussies and stuff like that. but i dont understand why. i mean you dont see the guys soccer team running around smacking each others asses cause thats not how they roll. Im a female playing soccer/fulbol and it makes me so mad when crap like that. and at my school girls get a ton of crap for playing a “guys” sport. its like can you ppl make up ur mind. you say that guys shouldnt play cause its a pussy sport and girls should play cause its a “guy sport. and then all the ppl thats make fun of the sport get all pissed when we talk down bout there sport. so its like you can dish it out but cant take it in. whats with that?? we all have the right to play the sport we wanna play. also when guys from the football team say well our sport has way more running then urs. its like yeah right all u guys do is stand around. most of the game is watching a bunch of guys standing aroun. in soccer/futbol we dont stand around we do so much running. so to all of u ppl who keep putting down on the soccer/fulbol ppl shut it cause we hve taken ur crap for to long. pluse ur all just pissed cause our sport is number one in the world. =]

  8. Wow says:

    That’s why i hate americans..they think every thing europians do is gay. Well i think all americans do is eat and get obese and only go out of the house to eat. You retards are lucky for europe even giving you that land for your gay country.

  9. Wow says:

    And peaches you are 100% right. All other sports you only take 5 – 10 steps shoot the ball and it’s in. Base ball, you only run 4 bases and swing a bat or throw a ball. Hockey you don’t even need to run. You slide. Football, is just a gay american sport. Futbol is ranked the best sport in the world because all the sports i mentioned besides Futbol are american sports. Futbol and Rugbe are the hardest sports to play.

    • Robert says:

      Let’s use our brains for a moment…soccer is a HORRIBLE game. Why?

      1. No use of hands. Human hands are far superior to feet; it’s one of those things that make us human (opposable thumbs). A game that limits use of our most-versatile feature is really stupid. Basketball, American football, baseball, and hockey all respect use of the hands, as does tennis and most other sports.

      2. “Offsides”. Also called “attempting to win.” If soccer is really about running around with the ball, then players should be able to break clear and go for a score. That’s ONE reason why American football is so much more popular…players can use their speed to evade defenders.

      3. Low scores…like hockey, the scoring is so low, most of the game features on wasting time and doing nothing. And ties should be broken by a “golden goal,” not 30 minutes of overtime.

      4. Unlike most sports, tennis and baseball require teams to WIN, not run out the clock.

      • WTF says:

        You say ‘lets use our brains for a moment’ and then come out with the most incorrect and brainless arguments. You my friend, are an idiot!

        1.No use of hands. Well you’ve clearly never heard of a goalkeeper or a throw-in. And who the hell says that using any limb or not using it is the best? Every sport has rules and limitations on what you can and can’t do. In your girly American sports like hockey and baseball, you can’t pick the ball up. You use a stick or bat. Why just not use your hands with opposable thumbs and pick the ball/puck up…..Dumbass!

        2. I don’t know that I should even attempt a reply to you about the offside rule but here goes anyway. For many years offside did not exists. What happened is the striker would just loiter near the goal keeper and the rest of the team would just hoof the ball up towards him at every possible opportunity. Now you, being obviously so dim, would have loved that because you’d get stupid scorelines every week. But for people with more than one brain cell, they found it dull and so the offside rule was introduced and the sport became known as ‘the beautiful game’.

        American football ‘is so much popular’ than soccer only in America. And I’d probably doubt that argument too actually. Let me enlighten you here my braindead chum. NOBODY outside of America cares, plays or knows about American football. It is considerd one of the gayest sports on the planet. It is a little bit similar to rugby, which is a popluar sport, but your players wear pads all over their body and motorcycle helmets. I mean how ridiculous and gay do you want a sport to be? They should all wear pink, frilly outfits too. If one of these guys dared play real rugby, they would literally s**t thenselves and go running to their mummy. Big pansies.

        And finally on this point, seeing as you clearly do not know, football (or soccer) is the most popular sport on the entire planet!!!!! Go look it up and educate yourself. No-one cares about your gay sport outside of your gay country.

        3. See above point for your brainless argument. Also, the golden goal rule is used in some competitions. It came in about 15 or 20 years ago but is being phased-out as it is deemed unfair. It isi generally deeemed that a football match should be won or lost over a set time period, not ‘who scores first’.

        4. There are plenty of other sports were draws or ties can be involved.
        Most athletics, cricket, boxing, horse racing, etc. Or are all these cr@p sports too simply because of that fact? You’ve got to question something here, who is wrong on this? The sport itself, or you for being a moron.

  10. America No says:

    You all are so funny! Usually the men who are homophobic or try to hide their true sexual orientation are the worst ones. They are the biggest gay lovers behind close doors. Next thing you’re going to say is that there are no gays in America like the Iranian President! haha!

  11. Ian says:

    Most British men don’t consider the ritual kissing/hugging celebration very macho either; its just the accepted trend, and many copy it without thinking. Americas ‘macho’ culture is more to do with the fact that sports like football are seen as global, whereas American football is seen as uniquely American. It’s more a question of patriotism expressed through national identity.

  12. Dan McKeel says:

    Simple basics 1. There is football the British game ( and favourite of the rest of the world too) and there is American football– there is no such word as futbol( with or without strange slashes) in the English language.
    2. one game is played by men in shorts shirts socks with shin pads and boots , the other is played by boys covered in so much padding and plastic that they might as well have a fence built round them when they go out to play. Now which of those sounds like a “Fag” game—- that is asked of the knuckle heads that think that Gay equates with feminine>
    Many str8 men are camp many gay men are macho—- often over the top macho to compensate for the sterotype they are compared with.
    Kissing has always been a part of football, because men who are confident in their masculinity can do that without caring that some half wit will think they are gay. It is guys who are not self confident that pass comment coz they feel that if they did it they would look gay they are telling more about themselves than the guys on the field .Have the balls to be a real man, show appreciation of team mates performance— the complainers are the couch potatoes that could never get a game anyway

  13. Itterkid says:

    Americans play football too. Just because its called by a different name here doesn’t mean we all hate it. Kissing isn’t apart of our culture. It is seen as an intimate gesture that you share with people you love. Women kissing isn’t seen as normal! .

  14. J says:

    Nothing wrong with a kiss on the pitch, they would probably get more female viewers. Besides, we all know that footballers do it right ;)

  15. J says:

    The kissing thing is funny since men straight men kissing seems to be an integral scene in Hollywood comedy films. However I think euro celebrating did go too far when Gallardo bit Jose Antonio Reyes’ penis. Um, in hockey we call it skating, but you can call it sliding if you want (and hockey players play football for fun anyway) and as for the padding in football, if you weren’t wearing padding you might die. Seriously, a lot of people have died playing football so padding’s mandatory. Lastly people make fun of other sports or people playing other sports is cause people are ignorant. Don’t let it get ya down.

  16. Rogue says:

    In case no one realised, football (aka soccer) was massive in the USA in the 70s…. were Americans ‘fags’ in only the 70s??

    Maybe I’m not a ‘modern man’, but as a Brit, seeing touchy-feely players hugging and kissing makes me absolutely cringe. And that pic on the top if the page! Embarrassing. (I’m not homophobic neither).

    I guess it’s not considered macho enough because it’s a non-contact sport where you can’t take your aggression out on an opponent as part of normal play like in rugby. The players take advantage of this by diving and acting like pussies which is even more embarrassing giving the sport a bad image.

    Also football might seem boring to those who don’t play it because the ball is the centre of action and is always in play unlike rugby where it’s held most of the time and so attention is on the player… cue more bodily mayhem!

    Anyways, if you’ve got a talent for any sport, then make use of it and fuck what anyone else thinks!

  17. Oh Well! It happened! says:

    So what?

  18. footballhero says:

    football is the proven biggest sport on th planet.
    Everyone in the usa know who manchester united are but not many people in th uk could name american football teams.
    The world cup is the biggest sporting event in the world.
    The usa just arnt good at it.

  19. sabrina says:

    Greek soccer players are more manly than all the americans in the world. So shut yous asses

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