Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal has refused to back up Spain World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso, claiming that it was not for his place to comment whether she was the victim of sexual assault.
Hermoso was the victim of a non-consensual kiss from suspended RFEF President Luis Rubiales, later calling herself the victim of sexual assault and saying she felt vulnerable. 79 Spain players signed the document in which Hermoso described the events, and said she would pursue action against Rubiales.
The men’s Spanish side would release a statement on arrival at their camp ahead of their international fixtures with Georgia and Cyprus, condemning Rubiales’ behaviour as inappropriate, but not mentioning Hermoso. However Carvajal would not go as far as backing her. He admitted during an interview with Onda Cero (via Marca), that he was scared of expressing an opinion publicly on these sorts of matters.
“We jointly issued the statement to make it clear from the first moment and focus purely on sports in the Georgia game. We all prepared the statement in which we were all comfortable and good, in accordance with what happened.”
“What we reject is what I say, those inopportune gestures of the president. It’s a shame that the world title diminishes or overlaps because it is a very important feat for our football. It has not been good for the image of Spanish sport.”
He would also speak to Relevo the same evening, and was asked if he would be comfortable with Rubiales kissing him without his consent.
“I will sidestep that question. Don’t know. I come here to play, to be available and help the team to qualify for Euro 2024. Given what it means to be the president of a Federation… We are players who are called up and they call us for the performance in our clubs.”
Hermoso’s teammates and 56 other women’s players were able to stand behind her statements, but Carvajal refused to take a position on the matter.
“We in the statement admit that the president’s behaviour is not appropriate and what you consider a victim, in your question that you are asking me, in the end there are legal entities that are considering whether Jennifer is really a victim of something, which is a process that is underway. In the end, and after all, we stay out of it.”
“I already told you that there are people who have to decide if there is guilt or a victim. Well, they will make that known. So we cannot position ourselves or condemn one party or another beforehand without knowing what has really happened, what has been stipulated, because to this day Jennifer has not filed the complaint either.”
Hermoso is thought to be evaluating whether she will take legal action.
Real Betis forward Borja Iglesias has declared he will not be available for Spain until the situation changes, with Carvajal noting that everyone is free to do as they please. Spain’s men’s side have been praised for making a statement, with many pointing out it did not include support for Hermoso, and instead seemed like a strategy to avoid questions on the matter. Carvajal admits they wanted to focus purely on football.