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The aftermath of the controversial Spanish soccer kiss could potentially be worse than the incident itself

It’s been three weeks since the beso seen around the world — and this story has taken more melodramatic twists and turns than a Pedro Almodovar movie with a touch of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” absurdity. Luis Rubiales, the now suspended president of the Spanish soccer Federation, is facing a tsunami of backlash after kissing star forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips as the women’s team celebrated its first Women’s World Cup title. Rubiales said it was consensual, a friendly peck, while Hermoso insisted, “At no time did I consent to the kiss he gave me.” Sure the kiss shouldn’t have happened — but the world’s insane obsession with it has completely eclipsed the squad’s amazing triumph of becoming world champs. As global pressure mounted for him to resign, Rubiales’ mother staged a hunger strike, locking herself in an Andalusian church and citing “inhumane and bloodthirsty” treatment of her son. Luis Rubiales, president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, ignited a storm when he kissed star forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips as Spain celebrated its first Women’s World Cup title.Fox Sports Rubiales is facing calls to resign after kissgate. AFP via Getty Images That came to a quick conclusion after she needed to be hospitalized. Meanwhile, Rubiales’s uncle was happy to pile on his beleaguered nephew, giving him a big ol’ swift kick in the culo when he was down. “I think he needs a social re-education program and a re-education in his relationship with women,” Juan Rubiales said. Then came none other than Woody Allen from the top ropes, defending Rubiales. Jenni Hermoso alongside Jorge Vilda, the Spanish women’s team’s coach who was fired yesterday.AP “He didn’t even kiss her in a dark alley. He wasn’t raping her. It was only a kiss and it was a friend. What’s wrong with that?” asked the 87-year-old, who has faced his own ugly accusations. Yet another wrinkle? A video has emerged from the team bus, taken after the game, with Hermoso joking about the kiss, imitating Rubiales’s motions, and laughing as her squad chanted “beso, beso, beso” — the Spanish word for kiss. Hermoso, having the last word, has now officially accused Rubiales of sexual assault. As friends and family in Spain have told me, the scandal has been playing nonstop on television and social media, and taking up real estate on every single front page for weeks. Yesterday, the women’s national team coach Jorge Vilda was canned. It’s head-spinning. The Athletico Madrid squad and staff showed support for Hermoso.Handout via REUTERS But guess what no one is talking about anymore? How damn great the Spanish women were in the World Cup. As soon as the kiss happened, all of the other stories went poof. Buried were the tales of Olga Carmona’s tournament-winning goal, as well as her learning of her father’s death after the game. It’s almost like the win never happened. The entire athletic triumph — the result of a program built over years and years — has been distilled to a peck on the lips that lasted a millisecond. Olga Carmona, who scored the only goal in the Spanish team’s win over England, celebrates with the World Cup trophy — but her own moving story has been overshadowed. REUTERS Yes, I think Rubiales was wrong to kiss Hermoso. He probably should have just issued an apology and shut up. Some friends in Spain have told me that the truth is somewhere in between all the polarizing headlines. One said Rubiales is a “bit of a hooligan” and he probably should have just resigned. But that pal added that the outcry seems to have risen to the level of a witch hunt fueled by progressive feminist forces, sniffing around for every transgression ever committed by the already controversial soccer honcho, who was already under investigation for influence peddling and bribery, according to CNN. (He has previously denied all allegations of corruption.) They’re looking to bury him. Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas and forward Hermoso are all smiles after winning the country’s first women’s world cup. Putellas has called Rubiales’ behavior “unacceptable.”AFP via Getty Images Then there’s the internet and social media, where everything plays on a loop and allows us to dissect a fleeting moment — including the infamous blip of a kiss — like it’s the Zapruder film. Maybe a few years ago, that peck would have been a feather in the breeze or led to a private conversation between two people, not the whole world. It feels like this has all spun so far out of control. It’s a damn shame. Because when history looks back at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, it will be all about Luis Rubiales’ lips.

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