A rape victims’ group has criticised Anthony Joshua for comments he made praising Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portugal footballer being investigated over s3xual assault allegations.
Rape Crisis England and Wales, an organisation that supports the work of rape crisis centres across both countries, say Joshua was ‘inappropriate, insensitive and disrespectful’ to make jokes about Ronaldo being ‘f*****’ by women ahead of his title defence against American Jarrell Miller in New York.
“Cristiano Ronaldo [is my sporting hero],” Joshua said at a promotional event in the build-up to the June fight. “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.
Katie Russell, the Rape Crisis England and Wales national spokeswoman, has since criticised Joshua for his remarks.
“It’s inappropriate, insensitive and disrespectful to make jokes or flippant remarks about allegations or instances of s3xual violence and abuse in any context,” Russell told The Telegraph.
“Arguably, those in the public eye, who may be considered a role model too many, including impressionable young people, have a particular responsibility not to trivialise such serious issues.
Joshua’s comments also appear to reference Ronaldo’s recent sentence for tax evasion in Spain; the 34-year-old paid a €19million fine to avoid jail time after pleading guilty to the charge.
Las Vegas police issued a warrant for Ronaldo’s DNA in January having reopened their case into the s3xual assault allegations.
The Portugal and Juventus forward’s lawyers claimed last October that documents, which appear to substantiate Mayorga’s claims, have been altered from their original state.
In October 2018 Ronaldo issued a denial on Twitter.