Spanish soccer chief Luis Rubiales was expected to resign Thursday amid backlash over his kiss on the lips of soccer player Jennifer Hermoso during the country’s World Cup medal ceremony. Instead, he attacked the spin head-on, said he won’t step down, called the process a “witch hunt,” claimed there was “consent,” and capped it off with a tantrum that included everything but him rolling on the ground like a 2-year-old.
“Do you think I have to resign? Well, I’m going to tell you something: I’m not going to resign! I’m not going to resign! I won’t resign! I’m not going to resign! I’m not going to resign!” Rubiales said.
If Rubilales wants to do this the hard way, and continue to sully what should be one of the happiest celebrations in the history of Spanish soccer, any number of players, club teams, and country officials — including Spain Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez — will unhappily oblige him.
A number of members from the women’s and men’s teams spoke out about this debacle of a news conference. Hermoso’s teammate Alexia Putellas called the speech “unacceptable.” Men’s team keeper David de Gea tweeted, “My ears are bleeding.” And Borja Iglesias, a striker for the men’s team, said he wouldn’t play for the national team again “until things change.”
Get off the stage, dude, as Putellas said, “It’s over.”
Rubiales alleged he asked Hermoso for a “small peck,” she agreed, and then he took her like Bugs Bunny did Elmer Fudd. Hermoso later said she “didn’t like” and “didn’t expect” the kiss. In that same radio interview on Sunday, Hermoso said she didn’t think the exchange would be “blown up more.”
That clearly hasn’t been the case, and she has since said Spain’s Association of Professional Soccer Players (FUTPRO) and her agency TMJ will be “defending my interests and acting as spokespersons on this matter.”
This incident should be something out of a nightmare, or a Barbie sequel, but it’s all too real, and such a bummer for the team and country.
“The thing with the kiss, which I said was free, was mutual, which was with consent, but obviously I still have to ask for forgiveness for the context in which it occurred,” Rubiales said during his diatribe. “I’m not living outside of the world, and I know that I made a mistake in this, but do we think that this merits the witch hunt which I’m suffering? Do you really believe that?”
You’re suffering? You’re the victim? Just go away, and allow everyone to enjoy what little is left of the celebration. That quote alone should be enough to jettison Rubiales to Mars, or a deep trench, until everyone involved has moved past this. Since I don’t think that will, or should, ever happen — congrats, Luis, you’re a teaching moment, as well as a scumbag — I’m fine with him living out the rest of his days under a rock.
I take that back. No, not the Rubiales part. He can eat sh*t.
I hope Jennifer Hermoso does with this moment as she sees fit. Forget it, process it, use it to push for further equality, compartmentalize it, whatever. It’s her moment, despite how much Rubiales has ruined it.
And the sooner he is gone, the sooner she can figure all of that out.