Paula Dapena turned her back during a minute of silence for Maradona. Photo by John Walton – PA Images via Getty Images
Paula Dapena, a footballer from Spanish third division women’s club Viajes InterRias FF, has said she has received death threats after refusing to honour the late Argentina legend Diego Maradona.
Prior to Saturday’s friendly game against Deportivo La Coruna, all the players, with the exception of Dapena, lined up around the centre circle to observe a minute’s silence in memory of Maradona.
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Maradona, 60, passed away on Nov. 25 after suffering a heart attack. Dapena sat down and turned her back as a sign of protest.
“It’s not just me that has been harassed on social media but also my teammates,” Dapena said. “We have also received death threats and messages such as ‘I’m going to find your home address and go there and break your legs.'”
Maradona died on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
He had been forced to respond to accusations of domestic violence in 2014 when a video appeared to show him striking his wife Oliva.
“I grabbed the phone but I swear to God that I have never hit a woman. The incident was over immediately. I threw the phone but nothing else,” he said at the time.
Dapena, a teacher by profession, said it would have been “hypocritical” for her to ignore his past.
“It seems hypocritical to observe a minute’s silence for Maradona, who was known for being an abuser, and not [observe] it for the victims of violence against women,” she added.
“It [Maradona’s death] totally overshadowed that day. We went from putting the spotlight on the death of women due to this cause to talking only about Maradona and what an idol he was for everyone.
“For me, from a football standpoint, Maradona had spectacular skills and qualities. But as a person, he left a lot to be desired.”
Dapena said she was “surprised” to be the only female footballer to have refused to honour Maradona.
“To have observed a minute’s silence and honoured him would have gone against my values,” she added. “I couldn’t do it.”