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Footballer Paula Dapena Refuses To Observe Minute’s Silence For ‘Rapist’ Diego Maradona

Footballer Paula Dapena Refuses To Observe Minute’s Silence For ‘Rapist’ Diego Maradona

Spanish footballer Paula Dapena refused to take part in a minute's silence for Diego Maradona, instead sitting on the pitch with her back turned while her teammates stood.

There were tributes across the sporting world this weekend for the Argentine World Cup winner, who died at age 60 last week. However before Viajes Interrias FF vs Deportivo Abanca, the 24-year-old Dapena chose not to join in.

"As soon as I found out that there would be an act in his memory I refused to observe the minute's silence for a rapist, paedophile and abuser," said Dapena according to Spanish media outlet AS.

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She hadn't known that a minute's silence was planned until she got to the ground, report AS. Three days earlier, a commemorative act had taken place before a match in recognition of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women - however that did not include a pre-game minute's silence.

"A minute's silence was not observed for the victims," said Dapena. "So, obviously, I'm not willing to observe one for an abuser and not for the victims."

While Dapena's teammates chose to observe the minute's silence for Maradona with heads bowed, local news outlet PontevedraViva reports that she had support from inside the ground, including from the coach of the opposing team, Deportivo Abanca, who said she understood her actions having spoken to her at half-time.

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It is certainly a very difficult issue. Nobody should be forced into a commemorative moment they do not believe should take place.

Journalists in Argentina have also pointed out that Maradona's troubled personal life cannot be glossed over entirely by his genius as a footballer and the pride he helped inspire in his nation.

However accusing Maradona of being a rapist and a paedophile is clearly inflammatory and incorrect, as he was never found guilty of any such crimes. Such language instead undermines the wider point Dapena is trying to make.

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"Stand[ing] up for your values is easier said than done. Well done," tweeted journalist Jordi Arrufat.

Which is true. But, if her quotes are to be believed, wild and unfounded accusations will only obscure her stance.

Dapena has received death threats on social media for deciding to sit down during the minutes silence.

Image credit: Tania Esperon/PA Images

Topics: Football News, Maradona, Football, Diego Maradona

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Alex Reid

Alex Reid is a writer at SPORTbible who’s previously strung words together for FourFourTwo, Boxing News, The Guardian and, yes, Cruise International (it’s about big ships, not Tom). Interests range from football and boxing to real sports like WWE and darts. He is not a cage fighter.