Univision’s World Cup Spanish Commentary Has Surprised Some Latinos

Nina Porzucki, PRI, June 20, 2014

Felix Sanchez has caught a little World Cup fever this year.

Sanchez, co-founder of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, says that although he’s primarily an English speaker, he has been tuning in to the Spanish language network Univision to watch the games and catch the commentary.

And, he’s not the only one. Univision has picked up millions of viewers throughout the games, edging out ESPN in the ratings.

When Sanchez started viewing the games on Univision he was surprised at what he heard from the Spanish-speaking commenters.

“Most recently was a characterization related to an Afro-Costa Rican player describing him not by his last name but by the color of skin, calling him ‘moreno,’” said Sanchez.

Sanchez noticed other charged words like “greña” being used by broadcasters.

“Greña really means messy hair but some individuals think of it as referring to African American hair and also describing it as ‘nappy’ hair,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez posted his linguistic concerns on Facebook and received many, many replies from other American Latinos like himself who were offended by the language being used by sportscasters.

“When English language leaning Latinos watch Spanish language programming there’s a culture clash that occurs because the kind of social progress that we live in, in our mainstream world doesn’t always seem to be reflected in programming that is not English language programming,” said Sanchez.

Outside of the US, these cultural slurs and epithets are not necessarily seen in the same light in other parts of the Spanish-speaking says Sanchez.


Univision has responded to Sanchez’ complaints. The president of Univision Sports reached out to Sanchez and invited him to Miami to speak with broadcasters and commenters about his linguistic concerns.


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  • Tim_in_Indiana

    Wow! You mean someone is actually complaining about nonwhites being “racist” for a change? I can’t believe it.

  • The Final Solution

    So these “Americanized” Latinos don’t like their own racist peoples’
    lack of social progress? LOL

    I’m just pleased to see the European teams steadily knocking
    out all non-white teams from the arena. Especially the Netherlands vanquishing
    Mexico, thank god. Adios cholos! Then France knocks out Nigeria, and just now
    Germany takes the final African team out, Algeria. Someone was saying that
    South America was knocking out all the Euro teams but none of them had even
    faced a true opponent yet. They all had the easiest groups. And all these European
    teams and the USA are playing in very different weather conditions than they
    are used to. Once again the white man conquers all to dominate the World Cup.

    • So CAL Snowman

      I wouldn’t say that European teams are steadily knocking out all non-White teams and I wouldn’t call France a European side, their starting XI against Nigeria consisted of 2 arab muslims (Varane, Benzema) and 3 coal black africans (Matuidi, Pogba, and Evra) plus the african Sissoko came on as a late substitute for one of the ethnic Frenchmen. Also France’s bench features 7 coal black africans. All White Greece was knocked out by Costa Rica and the best European team (Spain) is already out of the tournament along with fellow European powers Italy, Portugal, and England. The Netherlands features a bevy of african players such as Nigel De Jong, Georginio (both starters), and Memphis Depay (a regular sub). The Netherlands’ bench is almost as coal black african as France’s bench. There are no European teams left that feature an all White starting XI. Even Germany features an african (Boateng) a turk (Ozul) and a couple of Arab Muslims (Khedira and Mustafi). Only 6 of the 16 teams to reach the knock out stage were European teams. Historically European teams have struggled in South America.

      • evilsandmich

        Yeah for all of the combined five minutes that I’ve watched it was difficult to tell the teams apart based on ethnicity.

      • The Final Solution

        So basically you’re saying that because the Euro teams and USA have some non-white players, their victories are not white achievements for what are historically white nations. That’s the same thing as saying that the US was built by blacks because black people lived here while it was being built. It’s like saying blacks won WW2 because of the Tuskegee airmen, or that blacks put a man on the moon because maybe there was a black man mopping the floor at NASA. That sounds exactly like the thinking of a black person. If you ask me, it just shows how great the white players are to win despite having the handicap of a bunch of affirmative action black players. And yeah, a lot of Euro teams have been eliminated because they played terribly, but the way the bracket is set up it’s inevitable that a lot of them will be knocked out. Africa and Asia are gone completely, but so are a lot of South American teams.

      • Chris Granzow XI

        Exactly. I was actually rooting for Mexico, because at least they had a team full of real Mexicans and not some Africans they handed out citizenship to at the last minute. That’s another reason why I liked Spain, because the vast majority of their players were real Spaniards. To me, that’s what the World Cup should really be about: real representatives from each nation facing off.

    • Sick of it

      Despite the usual hype surrounding the African teams, they’ve been beaten rather handily this go round.

    • Bossman

      Perhaps you did not observe that the French team is made up of mostly black players. Even the Germans have some Blacks in their team. Mexico lost to the Netherlands on a questionable penalty.

      • BernieGoetzFan

        France has quotas to play 5 blacks, 5 whites and 1 Arab every game. Germany starts 9 Germans, 1 Turk and 1 black. Holland starts 8 whites and 3 blacks. Argentina has 8 whites and 3 mestizos.

      • evilsandmich

        … a questionable penalty

        I stopped watching because I was beginning to wonder if there was any other kind.

      • Greg Thomas

        But I did notice that mexico’s team is made up of entirely mexicans. Looks like mexico needs more diversity.

      • The Final Solution

        Netherlands beat Mexico fair and square. They scored a great goal and won a penalty shot. They would have won the game in penalty kicks anyway.

    • IstvanIN

      Poor Mexico was insulted by KLM Airlines with their sombrero tweet.

      • me

        Your ‘micro aggression’ of mentioning the ‘sombrero’ hat has set off one of my ‘triggers’. Next time, post a ‘trigger warning’ before you expose my delicate constitution to words like ‘sombrero’. It’s very damaging to my delicate sensibilities and well being. My emotional trauma….I think that I’m getting the vapors! Where’s my fainting couch?!

        • IstvanIN

          Sorry, it was my inner hunky coming out.

          • benvad

            Basz meg! The Hungarian equivalent of Smurfy!

          • IstvanIN

            The moderator should delete this post.

      • Greg Thomas

        Mexicans are always insulted over something.

    • Arne Reisvaag.

      Costa Rica didn’t have an easy group. Italy, Uruguay and England, all world cup winners in the group are now at home. Costa Rica led the group.

    • Carlos Geary

      If you visit Southern Brazil, you will notice that most people are of German, Italian and of other European descend. Same thing in Argentina and Uruguay. South Americans, are of any race and color. I was born in Europe, but I was raised in Uruguay, South America. I know what I am talking about.

    • Al Rex

      So these “Americanized” Latinos don’t like their own racist peoples’
      lack of social progress? LOL

      There is no such thing as a Latino. Latino is only a language, the language spoken by the Romans,ancient Italians, who imposed their Latin language (Lingua Latina) upon the Spaniards in what they called Hispania and remained there more than 700 years. And Latino is not a race and not an ethnicity and Latino doesn’t have anything to do with speaking Spanish or being mestizo or coming from Latin America.
      These are the Latin/Latino Countries: Italy, first and foremost, them France, Romania, Portugal and Spain. Don’t let the Spanish-speaking Ibero-Indians fool you.

  • Luca

    “Outside of the US, these cultural slurs and epithets are not necessarily seen in the same light in other parts of the Spanish-speaking says Sanchez.”

    Apparently, liberal indoctrination has not reached every corner of the earth yet. Our friends in Latin America need to be educated on how horribly oppressed they are by people referring to them by the texture of their hair or the color of their skin. Such offenses are simply not naturally learned in the real world.

    • benvad

      Well in Australia the c*nt word is really just punctuation, after all.

  • The Verdict of History

    Within this cultural context, “Moreno” is often meant as a term of endearment.

    One commentator notes:

    “”The USA has an obsession with race that the rest of the world doesn’t share and this ‘English leaning Latino’ is simply projecting his own racial hangups onto the commentary. It says more about the “English leaning Latino” viewers than it says about Univision.”

  • MekongDelta69

    Outside of the US, these cultural slurs and epithets are not necessarily seen in the same light in other parts of the Spanish-speaking [they left off the word, ‘world.’]”

    One word in response…


  • Anglokraut

    Univision made a mistake in acknowledging these complaints. Now if they don’t knuckle under, they will be smeared as racists in the ever-growing Spanish-speaking U.S. market. I hope they don’t knuckle under–it would be a powerful reminder that the Spanish market caters to the White people in South America.

  • Tarczan

    I’ve always been offended by “Fighting Irish”, but nothing ever came of it.

    • willbest

      I have tried to explain how the Pixar movie Brave is culturally offensive to my people, and nobody takes me seriously.

    • Tom_in_Miami

      I was deeply hurt, nay devastated by an insensitive Irish “joke” the other day. You know what a seven course Irish meal is? A six-pack and a potato! Oh, the cruelty. Being mostly Irish (part red-skin savage) I cried and cried.

  • Brady

    La Raza identity politcs are made in the USA, modeled after those of blacks. Latin America knows nothing of them.

  • Robert Griffith

    America is the land of the “I AM OFFENDED BRIGADE”!!!! I would classify Americans as clinically insane when it comes to political correctness. Few countries outside the Anglo-sphere have reached the level of lunacy as that of the USA. I stay far away from Americans. They are a mentally ill people in general. The type of society that the Americans have created is unsustainable. You can not have a society built on such a psychotic foundation.

    • TheHBD

      Amen Brother!

    • Katherine McChesney

      I blame this rubbish on the psychiatrists, psychologists, twelve step programs and others of their ilk. They push the feelings garbage. It has sensitized people so much that they have become babbling idiots with no backbone at all. I have two siblings who are programmed by a twelve step program. They are professional victims with violent tendencies. Impossible to be around because of their childish attachment to their feelings. The thing is, that they are completely insensitive to others, both having abandoned their children during their early years.

      • Kenner

        I took the one-step program. I just stopped drinking.

        • Katherine McChesney

          Congratulations. Glad you didn’t buy into their rubbish. Keep up the good work.

    • MBlanc46

      There are a lot of wackazany things that go on in the US, but “psychotic” and “disingenuous” aren’t words that I would use for my neighbors, nor do I believe that they apply to me. Perhaps you ought to try to get to know some ordinary working Americans instead of basing your description of a nation of 300 million people on what you read in the papers or see on television.

      • Robert Griffith

        If the shoe doesn’t fit, then don’t wear.

      • adplatt126

        I think he’s talking about the zeitgeist, the dominant social arrangement. Sure there are outliers and non-conformists, but there is no question to me, as an American, that Americans are a remarkably deluded, insanely politically correct, group of people, completely cut off from reality by a rogue, terrorist government, power structure and media that tyrannize and lie to them at every turn. I do believe it is quite apt and accurate, to describe American culture, broadly speaking of course, as literally insane.

    • John Smith

      You win the idiot generalization award of the day. Take a bow, and don’t be offended.

      • Robert Griffith

        You are in deep denial. Take a trip to any urban/suburban area. Observe the manner of dress, the taste in music, and the general conduct of those around you. Admitting one has a problem is the first step to correcting it. American culture is garbage. Your top selling music is garbage, your reality tv shows (in which TENS OF MILLIONS of your fellow American’s devour) are trash, and your education system does little to prepare your youth for the real world.

        Come again bud.

        • John Smith

          Okay. Now tell me what country spat you out. And tell me how wonderful they are. Go on…

          • Robert Griffith

            I was born and raised in the USA. I attended their universities, and served in their Marine Corps. In fact the first of my ancestors landed in the the USA in the 1680’s after leaving Cardigan Wales. Of course it wasn’t known as the USA in those days.

          • adplatt126


    • adplatt126


  • Bossman

    Some people are complaining that Brazil is looking much too white during these games.

    • willbest

      I forget which match I was watching but my thought was the hispanic team was whiter than the European one.

  • IstvanIN

    I have met a number of Costa Ricans and they are VERY racist.

    • Einsatzgrenadier

      In general, Latin Americans are far more racist than North Americans. They have no concept of political correctness and have no problem discussing this or that ethnic group’s shortcomings in public.

      • Bossman

        I like the fact that they don’t believe in political correctness. Lately, after buying a smartphone, I decided to download a free Mexican TV App, what a surprise, on Mexican TV and other Latin American TV, you won’t be seeing many Blacks or vapid East Asians. Just lots of pretty women in very tight dresses and short skirts as news presenters and as entertainers. The men all look very macho, clean and healthy.

        • Einsatzgrenadier

          Latin Americans often identify people by racial group membership than personal name. For example, they often say things like: “Hey white person, what are you doing over there?” or “Hey blackie, go get me a glass of water.” This is especially true of more diverse areas. They’ll call blacks “negros” or “morenos”, whites “gringos”, “blancos” or “güeros”, the Chinese “chinos”, native Indians “indios” and so on.

        • Chris Granzow XI

          Turn on Telemundo every once in a while. Honestly, you’re going to see more white people than you will on regular English-language American channels.

          • adplatt126

            That’s because when you’re in the middle, you fight to be on top. When you’re on top, you take it for granted.

    • The Verdict of History

      I prefer the term “stoically honest”…

    • Arne Reisvaag.

      I am an American living in Costa Rica, you are VERY correct.

  • willbest

    Yes, well the rest of the world doesn’t suffer from guilt or race denial so this is to be expected.

    What is most surprising about this article is that some PC blather has actually trickled down into some of the minority population.

  • Bill

    The guy must be Afro-Hispanic, maybe from the Dominican Republic.

  • Standup Broad

    To experience “open racism” one only needs to visit Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Columbia. Latino people define other citizens as Indio, Negro, or Hispanic. Never make the error of calling a proud descendant of Spanish heritage a “hispanic”!

  • IKUredux

    Wow, it’s hard to admit , but, despite the fact that Whites have declared racism and all the other “isms” verboten, the rest of the world doesn’t give a shiite! Only White people have been brainwashed into thinking that cannibals from the Congo are on par culturally and intellectually, with the finest European minds. One can only look forward to the play that has Sir Isaac Newton, sitting down for a repast with Idi Amin. Oh, wait, is Sir Newton talking to Amin? Or is he just on the menu?

  • Carlos Geary

    I was born in Ireland, but raised in Uruguay (Southern South America), In Uruguay, I was always called “colorado” (red haired), but I was never offended

    • Anglokraut

      I thought the term was “pelirojo”? Or is that like calling a redhead “carrots”?

  • Dave West

    So Latinos don’t like blacks either, what a surprise!

  • Good idea. Now let’s all have a nice friendly dialogue with black gangsta rappers to address their hate lyrics towards us. Say tenish?

  • TXCriollo

    Ha i was watching that game and heard that i now tune in to spanish world cup. Hispanic for the arts is this a joke im proud of Univision for not bowing down to pc

  • ElComadreja

    Soccer. The sport of turd world scum and Eurotrash. Who gives a damn? Nice to see them turning on their own though, lol.


    How do offendees manage to make it through even one day?

  • Strider73

    I grew up on the border, and this is the 1st time I ever heard of “moreno” being a derogatory term. In fact, it is a rather common last name in Mexico. I knew some Morenos in school, and there is also the famous actress Rita Moreno.

    Like “Final Solution,” I was happy to see Mexico knocked out of the tournament. Of the 8 teams in the quarterfinals, Argentina seems to be the whitest.

  • adplatt126

    Actually what she said was that higher soccer ratings were a clear sign of our “moral decay”. LOL. Absurd… your loss by the way, wonderful game.

  • adplatt126

    Look where they’re coming from, not where they’re going! Griffith is correct. If you’re better than Saudi Arabia, that doesn’t make you good. Besides, he makes it quite clear that America has tremendous advantages with regard to prosperity and stability, that are a consequence of the historic stock of the people and its traditions. He’s merely arguing, and rightly of course, that despite our steady parasitic importation of intelligence from abroad, this is not really ethical, universalizable, or sustainable. He’s right. America (if this concept has any real comprehensibility) is a pile of crap, generally speaking of course; it’s a society under the domination of a totalitarian power structure, and a very sick society indeed. The power class likes to play the jingoism card, to do two things. Half the time it’s to get Americans to ignore what the power class is doing to them. The other half of the time it’s employed to get Americans to think that dying to further corporate interests or government power is equivalent to dying for one’s country. They’re not the same. Serving your government is not serving your country. In some circumstances, it achieves exactly the opposite.