Heavyweight boxing champion of the world Anthony Joshua has been criticised for saying Cristiano Ronaldo is his hero because of his attitude towards “issues” with women.
Anthony Joshua cited Cristiano Ronaldo’s attitude towards his “issues” with women as a reason the footballer is his sporting hero – Rape Crisis today criticised him for “trivialising” sexual assault allegations. My report: https://t.co/7jUKpJDgFY
— Molly McElwee (@molly_mcelwee) March 2, 2019
The footie ace was accused of rape when Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit last September in Nevada, claiming Ronaldo raped her in his Las Vegas hotel room in 2009.
An investigation is ongoing while Ronaldo’s attorney issued a statement denying wrongdoing by his client.
At a promotional event for his upcoming fight against Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, Joshua praised Ronaldo for how he was dealing with that and his tax fraud conviction.
“Cristiano Ronaldo [is my sporting hero],” Joshua said
“I’ve always said two things you’d get f….. for as an athlete is women and tax, he’s got f….. for both and he’s still smiling, still strong.”
“You need mental strength, he’s proved that,” Joshua continued.
Ronaldo, 34, was convicted of tax fraud in Spain last year and received a two-year suspended sentence and nearly $19 million in fines.
“He’s a family man, he’s got that aspect, but still out working and he’s dedicated to what he does. So as a sportsman he’s had the issue of one side, he’s got the family on the other side, and he balances what he’s passionate about. He completes all the packages, so I like Ronaldo for that reason.”
But Katie Russell, the Rape Crisis England and Wales national spokeswoman, has criticised Joshua for his remarks.
“It’s inappropriate, insensitive and disrespectful to make jokes or flippant remarks about allegations or instances of sexual violence and abuse in any context,” Russell told The Telegraph.
“Arguably, those in the public eye, who may be considered a role model to many, including impressionable young people, have a particular responsibility not to trivialise such serious issues.
“Experiences of sexual violence and abuse can have wide-ranging and long-term impacts on victims’ and survivors’ health, lives and relationships. As a society, we need to develop more empathy and understanding about that if we are ever to see more of those impacted by sexual violence and abuse get the support they need, want and deserve.”