In what is surely becoming the most infuriating indictment against patriarchy, the drama surrounding Luis Rubiales‘ nonconsensual kiss given to Spanish football player Jenni Hermoso unfortunately rages on.
In the latest truly head scratching development in the saga, the suspended Spanish Football Federation president’s mother is now weighing in on the incident. According to reports from The Sun, Angeles Behar is going on hunger strike until her son receives “justice” and Hermoso “tells the truth” about what really happened.
The retired hairdresser is holing up in the Davina Pastora Church in Motril, Spain and insists she will remain there until the “inhumane and bloody witch-hunt” is over. Feels like a super problematic response to what is going down – must run in the family! Hun, if you’re feeling remorseful over your son’s icky actions, you can just say so.
Behar’s hunger strike continues to weave a through line that paints a picture about how insidious sexism is in the football arena and by extension, Spain itself. And despite the worldwide condemnation of Rubiales’ behaviour, powerful people at the stop are still yet to make a decisive call of action.
Last Saturday FIFA handed down a suspension to Rubiales which temporarily prevents him from engaging within the realms of any football adjacent pursuits.
“The chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, Jorge Ivan Palacio (Colombia), in use of the powers granted by article 51 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC), has decided today to provisionally suspend Mr. Luis Rubiales from all football-related activities at national and international level,” read the statement.
Many were quick to condemn the fairly soft response from FIFA especially considering the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was quick to voice his support of Hermoso.
“We’ve seen his apology and that’s not enough, he must be much clearer and convincing in apologising,” he said during a local news conference.
“He must take more steps to clarify a behaviour that is unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, 81 Spanish players — including the entire Women’s World Cup-winning squad — are now on strike. Even the team’s problematic coach Jorge Vilda has spoken out to condemn Luis Rubiales’ actions.
There’s always plenty of conjecture from the public court around what kind of action is the correct way to denounce this kind of behaviour. Some might say that a provisional suspension sends the message that harmful and aggressive sexual conduct towards women only gets you a slap on the wrist.
As Luis Rubiales’ mother embarks on her hunger-strike, we feel for Hermoso who remains the victim at the centre of this ongoing spectacle that has incited fervent dialogue across the world. If only Rubiales could admit his wrongdoing, step away from the spotlight and stop wielding his mother in a truly odd display of machismo?
Wouldn’t that be nice.