Spanish World Cup star Jenni Hermoso has made an emotional statement, alleging that she faced “continuous pressure” to defend the actions of Spain’s football boss, Luis Rubiales, who appeared to forcibly kiss her after their team’s World Cup final victory against England.
The incident raised significant outrage, and Hermoso has asserted that she did not consent to the kiss, accusing Rubiales and the Spanish Football Association (FA) of fostering a “manipulative” and “controlling” environment for players.
The Controversial Incident
The controversy erupted when Luis Rubiales, the President of the Football Federation, kissed Hermoso on the lips during the celebrations after Spain’s World Cup victory against England.
In addition to the kiss, he was seen grabbing his crotch while seated in the royal box with Queen Letizia and her daughter.
Rubiales initially defended his actions, claiming the kiss was consensual.
Hermoso’s Response and Denial
In her statement, Jenni Hermoso vehemently denied Rubiales’ claim that the kiss was consensual.
She expressed her discomfort with the incident and emphasized that no conversation, as described by Rubiales, ever took place.
She further stated that she felt “vulnerable” and like a victim of an “impulse-driven, sexist, out-of-place act” that lacked her consent.
Hermoso clarified that she did not want to make a statement regarding the incident and intended to enjoy the historic moment with her teammates.
Allegations of Pressure
Hermoso also alleged that she faced “continuous pressure” to make a statement that would justify Rubiales’ actions.
She claimed that not only the Spanish FA but also individuals connected to her, such as family, friends, and teammates, were pressured to provide testimonies that did not align with her feelings.
This pressure, she asserted, was not acceptable, especially considering the team’s achievement as World Champions.
Solidarity and Consequences
Several players, both from Spain and abroad, expressed their support for Hermoso. They condemned the actions and called for consequences for Rubiales.
The controversy has led to several developments, including disciplinary proceedings initiated by FIFA against Rubiales, the resignation of the head of Spain’s Women’s Football Committee, and a legal battle in Spain.
Commentary: A Stand Against Misconduct
Jenni Hermoso’s courageous stance against non-consensual behavior has sparked a larger conversation about respecting boundaries and ensuring that athletes are treated with dignity and professionalism.
Her refusal to yield to pressure and the support she has received from fellow players demonstrate a united front against misconduct within the sports world.
This incident highlights the importance of maintaining a safe and respectful environment for athletes, free from any form of harassment or unwanted advances.