Public perception against Luis Rubiales has not shifted, despite his mom going on a three-day hunger to protest criticism against her son
The mother of embattled Spanish soccer president Luis Rubiales has reportedly been released from the hospital after going on a brief hunger strike in protest of criticism against her son, who kissed a player on the women’s national team without consent after they won the World Cup last month.
Fans, global soccer executives and players from around the world have called for Rubiales, 46, to step down from his position as the Spanish soccer federation’s president.
Rubiales was suspended by FIFA for 90 days, the world’s top soccer organization announced earlier this week, leading to his mother’s decision to go on a multi-day hunger strike that resulted in her hospitalization but seemingly no shift in the public’s perception of her son.
Angeles Bejar began her hunger strike inside the Divina Pastora church in Motril, Spain on Monday. She was taken to the Santa Ana hospital three days into her protest, as a local priest who identified himself as Father Antonio told reporters that the 72-year-old woman was feeling "tired and stressed out" after days of not eating.
Bejar refused to speak to reporters after she was released from the hospital, CNN reported.
Her adult son has faced a growing amount of criticism around the world for his behavior following Spain’s 1-0 win over England to capture the country’s first Women’s World Cup last month.
Rubiales was spotted in the crowd grabbing his crotch after the final whistle, mere seats away from Queen Letizia of Spain and 16-year-old Princess Infanta Sofía. Soon after, Rubiales made his way front and center to the women’s celebration and grabbed player Jenni Hermoso by her face and kissed her on the lips.
After the match, Hermoso was spotted telling her teammates she did not consent to the kiss. She later said in a statement on social media that “in no moment did I consent to the kiss that he gave me and in no moment did I try to pick up the president.”
"Simply put, I was not respected," Hermosa, 33, wrote. "I felt vulnerable and a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist, out of place act without any consent on my part."
Rubiales has since refused to step down from his role atop the country’s soccer federation, calling his critics “idiots,” inflaming the controversy even more.
"I've come under a lot of pressure,” he said during his speech to the country’s soccer federation, per ESPN, adding, “I'm going to fight until the end. I hope the law is followed, and that as there's no reason to [remove me], it won't happen.”
Weeks after winning the World Cup, players for the Spanish Women’s National Team said they’ll refuse to play for the team as long as Rubiales remains president.
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