Kiss Showed Soccer for What It Is: 'The Misogynistic Game'

Unwanted kiss and Spanish federation's reaction is a disgrace, but not a surprise: Christine Brennan
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2023 4:22 PM CDT
Let's Call Soccer What It Is: 'The Misogynistic Game'
President of Spain's soccer federation, Luis Rubiales, kisses Jennifer Hermosa after the game.   (YouTube/CNN)

The message behind the Women's World Cup was one of empowerment. But it "wasn't destined to last long, not in international soccer, not with its long history of ignoring women, not paying women equally and not particularly caring about the women's game." As Christine Brennan writes at USA Today, Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales' unwanted kiss on the lips of Spanish midfielder Jennifer Hermoso after her team won the tournament was "awfulness" that showed why soccer should be called "the misogynistic game." Continues Brennan, "Cameras captured Rubiales grabbing his crotch immediately after Spain's victory over England. The guy had quite a half hour."

Spain's minister of equality, Irene Montero, said the kiss was "a form of sexual violence." Spain's acting minister for sports and culture, Miquel Iceta, said it was "unacceptable." The world players' union said it was "inappropriate" and "deeply lamentable." Yet Spain's soccer federation tried to brush the whole thing under the rug, Brennan writes. Though Hermoso initially described her distaste for the kiss, the federation later released a statement quoting her as saying "it was a totally spontaneous mutual gesture due to the immense joy of winning a World Cup."

It's "very much in keeping with the Spanish federation's strategy for controlling its women's team any which way it wants," Brennan writes, citing last year's brouhaha, in which 15 members of the Spanish women's national team announced they wouldn't play without changes to the coaching staff. "The federation rejected their request and punished them, dropping all but three from the eventual World Cup roster," Brennan writes.

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Rubiales, who initially defended his actions, admitted he "made a mistake ... without any bad intention or bad faith ... in a very spontaneous way" in a video released by the federation on Monday, per TMZ. "But for forcibly kissing a subordinate, hijacking the Spanish players' celebration and stealing their headlines for nearly 36 hours and counting, he should be banished from the game," Brennan writes. "As of now, Rubiales still has a job, and, soccer being soccer, he probably will be promoted." (More Women's World Cup stories.)

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