You can understand, in light of the recent violence in Spanish soccer, why La Liga officials are a little sensitive to negative fan behavior, but this might be a bit much. Marca has reported that the league has banned 17 Real Madrid for chants aimed at Lionel Messi—"Messi's a retard"—and Catalonia—"Fucking Catalonia."

The chants were heard this weekend during Madrid's 3-0 win over Celta Vigo. Because of this behavior, the league reported the club to the Anti-Violence Commission, which has commenced an investigation and already decided to ban 17 supporters. Besides individual bans, the Commission only has the power to fine the club, though new rules enacted after the Atlético Madrid-Deportivo La Coruña ultras fight, which take effect later this month, will allow them to close sections of the stadium when violent behavior is found.

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Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti is backing the investigation, calling insults the same as violence, but we aren't so quick to abandon the banter that makes the soccer fan experience so unique. (Here it would be a good time to note that the actual anti-Messi chant is "Messi Messi Messi subnormal," which, while definitely an insult, isn't quite as strong as the English "retard.") We're in closer agreement with Barça boss Luis Enrique, who's in favor of a little more leeway in cases like this:

"If we throw out everyone who insults people during football we'll be left on our own, even without players. Everything against violence in football is welcome. It's not over the top to go after them but I don't know where we draw the line. There are insults at every stadium in Spain. We should try and control what we can like acts of violence, but we are all good people until our passion for our team comes out."

Not that Barcelona fans would be all that put out by curtailing potty-mouthed chants. The best anti-Madrid one remains serenading the biggest Galáctico with "Messi! Messi! Messi!"

[Marca]