US soccer star Alex Morgan slams Spanish FA president for kissing Jenni Hermoso

US women’s soccer star Alex Morgan has expressed her outrage over the incident that occurred at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, where Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent. Morgan said she was disgusted by the public actions of Rubiales and stood by Hermoso and the Spanish players.

Rubiales faces backlash for his inappropriate behavior

The controversy erupted after Spain defeated England in the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, which was held in Australia. As the players went up to receive their medals and trophies, Rubiales grabbed Hermoso’s face with both hands and planted a kiss on her lips, while she looked visibly uncomfortable and tried to pull away.

US soccer star Alex Morgan slams Spanish FA president for kissing Jenni Hermoso
US soccer star Alex Morgan slams Spanish FA president for kissing Jenni Hermoso

The incident was captured on camera and sparked a wave of criticism from fans, media, politicians, and experts, who accused Rubiales of sexual assault, misogyny, and disrespect. Many called for his resignation and demanded an apology from him and the Spanish FA.

Rubiales initially defended his actions, saying that he was just expressing his joy and affection for the players, and that he had known Hermoso for a long time. He also dismissed his critics as “idiots” and “enemies of football”.

However, as the pressure mounted, he later released a video apology, where he admitted that he had made a mistake and that he had not intended to harm or offend anyone. He also said that he had apologized personally to Hermoso and that she had accepted his apology.

Hermoso rejects Rubiales’ apology and files a complaint

Hermoso, who scored the winning goal for Spain in the final, initially downplayed the incident, saying that it was “no big deal” and that she did not enjoy it. She also said that she did not want to ruin the celebration of her team’s historic achievement.

However, after reflecting on the situation and consulting with her lawyers and union Futpro, she changed her stance and released a lengthy statement, where she denounced Rubiales’ behavior as unacceptable and non-consensual. She said that she felt shocked, violated, and humiliated by his kiss, and that she did not accept his apology.

She also said that she had filed a formal complaint against Rubiales with FIFA’s disciplinary committee, which is investigating the matter and could impose sanctions on him. She said that she wanted to set an example for other women who face similar situations in sports or other fields.

She also thanked all the people who supported her and expressed solidarity with her, including her teammates, coaches, fans, journalists, celebrities, and fellow players from other countries.

Morgan and Rapinoe show support for Hermoso

Among those who voiced their support for Hermoso were US women’s soccer stars Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, who are known for their outspokenness on social issues and women’s rights.

Morgan took to X (formerly Twitter) to share her thoughts on the incident. She wrote: “I’m disgusted by the public actions of Luis Rubiales. I stand by @Jennihermoso and the Spanish players. Winning a World Cup should be one of the best moments in these players’ lives but instead it’s overshadowed by assault, misogyny, and failures by the Spanish federation.”

Rapinoe also commented on the matter in an interview with The Atlantic. She said: “It made me think about how much we are required to endure. Think how much that Spanish team had to shoulder: Some of the players who stood up way back last year [to protest poor treatment by their coach and federation] still aren’t on the team. Maybe that was something that galvanized them, but you shouldn’t have to have that.”

She also pointed out another gesture by Rubiales that signaled his disrespect for women’s soccer. She said: “There was another picture that signals such a deep level of misogyny and sexism in that federation and in that man at the final whistle just grabbing his crotch. What kind of upside-down world are we in? On the biggest stage, where you should be celebrating, Jenni has to be physically assaulted by this guy.”

Morgan and Rapinoe are both World Cup champions themselves, having won the trophy with the US team in 2015 and 2019. They are also advocates for equal pay and better conditions for women’s soccer players around the world.

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