In their first opening match at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil on Wednesday, the U.S. women’s soccer team came up against something they weren’t expecting: the crowd chanting homophobic slurs, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The crowd at Estadio Mineirao in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte chanted the Portuguese word “bicha,” which translates to “faggot,” according to The Advocate.
“It is personally hurtful,” Megan Rapinoe, an openly gay player on the team, told the L.A. Times.
“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,” she said. “But they need to understand that that’s how it’s taken. They need to understand if all of you are willing to do that, what does that say to a gay player? Especially in the men’s game. What does that say to players who are struggling to come out?”
The Australian and Canadian women’s soccer teams were met with the same chant during their game last week–there were four openly gay players on the field during that game, according to the Australian Associated Press .
Local reporters told the A.A.P. that the slur is sometimes used at soccer games in Brazil but that it usually surfaces at men’s matches, not women’s.
The crowds also chanted “Zika” at U.S. player Hope Solo, who tweeted about her heavy-duty Zika preparation before the game on Wednesday and earlier this year voiced her concerns about taking part in the games while Zika is still a health risk.