The P Word was Heard Again at a Small Scale at a Rapids Home Game. Here’s What It Means.

Mar 21, 2023 - 4:00 PM

During the 17th minute of Saturday’s game, the in-stadium Public Address Announcer warning the crowd about offensive and discriminatory language and chanting. A club spokesman informed Burgundy Wave later in the game that this was in response to the P word again being heard at a small scale in the stadium.

During the home opener against Sporting KC, the P word was heard from what was believed to be a small group of spectators on the south side of DICK’s Sporting Goods Park. Those fans did not appear to be a part of the Centennial 38 Supporters Group.

The club came out with a statement condemning the chant on March 8.

Last Saturday during the first half of the Minnesota United game, the chant was reportedly heard on a small scale, prompting the announcement in the 17th minute. It could have been a group as small as the first home game, or even one person in one corner of the stadium.

Between these two games, Burgundy Wave spoke to an MLS spokesperson to get an understanding of the league’s action and focus. Education was emphasized as the first step and that spirit was the announcement in the 17th minute. An increased alertness from stadium staff could have led to the promptness of the announcement compared to how the situation was handled on March 4.

Read More: Homophobic Chant Returns to DICK’s Sporting Goods Park

The next step in this process had the chant continued and spread throughout the stadium would have been to enact FIFA’s three step protocol.

  1. The head referee temporarily postpone the match with another statement from the PA Announcer regarding the chant.
  2. The PA Announcer reads out a second warning with players and staff exiting the field and returning to the locker rooms.
  3. The match is abandoned.

Rapids fans will remember the first step of the protocol being implemented during the Nations League in 2021 and in an away match at Houston Dynamo later that season.

This protocol is for when chants such as the P word become wide spread, though the literature does not clearly define what constitutes wide spread. According to league and club spokespersons, the decision to enter this protocol is made by the referee, the venue, and the league.

The protocol does not layout what definitively happens after the match is abandoned. Conventional wisdom would suggest the league and the clubs involved come to an agreement and likely reschedule. So for those concerned that one bad apple could cause the Rapids to automatically forfeit the match, that is not automatic by any means. There is precedent for punishment however.

Should this occur again at a Rapids home match, a similar announcement could be made with the relevant parties monitoring to see if the chant becomes “wide spread” before beginning the protocol to stamp out the P word.

It’s unfortunate that this has occurred in the first two home matches of the season. A few bad (and possibly ignorant) apples have potentially harmed the reputation of the fanbase, supporters group and the club.

That word is incongruent with the values of the Rapids Community. It has no place in American Soccer.

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