Ronaldo and his reputation in hot water

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By David Thirkeld, third year History student

As Ronaldo’s career enters its closing stages, will his legacy be derailed by this damning accusation?

As of recently, the sporting world has been clouded by serious allegations from 34-year-old ex-teacher Katherine Mayorga, who claims Juventus frontman Ronaldo raped her when she was working at Rain Nightclub in Palms Hotel and Casino back in 2009. German publication Der Spiegel spearheaded these accusations with a piece containing a chilling account by Mayorga, opening up publicly for the first time since the incident occurred during Ronaldo’s Manchester days.

Allegedly, Ronaldo’s entourage danced with Mayorga and a friend before deciding to continue partying at the Portuguese forward’s extravagant penthouse apartment in Las Vegas. When Mayorga arrived, she says a jacuzzi awaited. Reluctant, but wanting to give her friend a good time during her short stay in the city, she accepted Ronaldo’s invitation to wear a swimming outfit he offered her, as she had none of her own.

What ensued has the potential to rightly destroy Ronaldo’s legacy. Mayorga explains her story in detail, claiming that Ronaldo walked in on her whilst she wore only her underwear and revealed himself to her before bluntly asking if she would touch his penis. Mayorga says she rejected his appeals, kissing him in the belief that it would ward him off.

According to Mayorga though, Ronaldo was insistent and pulled her into his room, which was attached to the bathroom, proceeding to anally penetrate her against her cries of ‘no, no, no, no'. She recalls in anguish driving home and every heartbeat being ‘a piercing pain’. Upon confiding in a childhood friend over the phone, Mayorga decided to call the police to report the incident. Shortly after a call, logged at 2:16 P.M, June 13, 2009, she was tested using a rape kit which determined that her rectum had been penetrated and ejaculation had occurred in the assailant’s hands.

Mayorga’s strongest evidence for this case is leaked documents, including a questionnaire formed by Ronaldo’s lawyers. When asked if Mayorga had raised her voice, screamed or called out, Ronaldo responded: ‘She said no and stop several times’. If these documents are legitimate and not, based on ‘stolen and easily manipulated digital documents’, as Ronaldo’s lawyer, Peter Christiansen, suggests, they will be the records that frame proceedings in the near future. Indeed, in Nevada the statute of limitations is yet to expire and the Las Vegas Police have declared their intention to reopen the case. One thing’s for sure, Ronaldo will need to engage with the accusations with more than a brief video dismissing it as ‘fake news'. This is, indeed, an enormously serious issue with drastic ramifications.

Since the release of these highly incriminating documents, news media have begun to take up the story with renewed fervour and Ronaldo’s family, sponsors and club Juventus have all had their say. However, not all have been as blasé in their response as Ronaldo, who remained composed after scoring the Old Lady’s second goal in a 2-0 win against Udinese last weekend.

Sporting giants Nike and EA both have lucrative endorsement deals with the athlete and have both submitted apprehensive statements saying they will be ‘monitoring the situation’. The former could be especially hard hit by this case regardless of the outcome, having invested an enormous $1 billion ‘lifetime’ deal with Ronaldo in 2016. Save the Children seem even more concerned, expressing that they have been ‘disheartened by the news’; Ronaldo is their highest profile ambassador. As we have seen with articles concerning Casey Affleck’s alleged sexual abuse towards women, the public do not forget such accusations.

The response from Ronaldo’s new club Juventus differs significantly, and their celebration of the player has been widely and vehemently criticised. An official tweet from Juventus’ account waxed lyrical of Ronaldo’s ‘professionalism and dedication … which is shared by anyone who has come into contact with this great champion’. Similarly, Ronaldo’s mother Dolores and sister Katia bolstered this image, calling for fans to post pictures of the striker in a Superman cape on social media. Needless to say, such reactions are highly inappropriate. Ronaldo’s incredible ability as an athlete and sportsman should be of no import to the spectacle that will be drawn out in the upcoming months. What is for certain is that these allegations transcend business and football entirely.

Set against a backdrop of the MeToo movement, which Mayorga admits being inspired by, long gone are the days of powerful public figures carefully shrouding their misconduct with troves of wealth. The accusations against Weinstein late last year have set in motion an unrelenting force which has completely changed the landscape for the better. The memory of Ronaldo may well be permanently tarnished if this damning accusation of an abhorrent crime is found to be true.

Featured image: Flickr / Ludovic Peron


Stay tuned to Epigram Sport for the latest updates on the accusations against Cristiano Ronaldo.

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