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- Anthony Joshua has been accused by a rape charity of “trivializing” sexual violence after he labelled Cristiano Ronaldo as one of his heroes.
- Ronaldo was accused last year of a 2009 rape, a claim he has denied.
- Joshua said Ronaldo has been “f—–” by “women and tax” but he continues to smile and continues to be strong.
- Read all of Business Insider’s coverage for the 2018-2019 soccer season right here.
Anthony Joshua has been accused of “trivializing” rape after he called Cristiano Ronaldo one of his sporting heroes because of the way he smiles through off-field issues involving women or tax.
Since then, Ronaldo denied claims from a different woman, who called herself his ex-girlfriend, that he is a psychopath and a liar.
The Juventus striker has also been forced to turn up to court to settle a fine regarding tax fraud. The Portuguese soccer player was seen smiling and signing autographs after accepting a $22 million fine and two-year suspended jail term earlier in the year.
It is this quality of Ronaldo’s – smiling in the face of apparent adversity – that has led the world heavyweight champion boxer Joshua to label the athlete a hero.
“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,” Joshua said at a promotional event ahead of his June fight against Jarrell Miller, according to the The Telegraph.
“You need mental strength, he’s proved that. He’s a family man, he’s got that aspect, but still out working and he’s dedicated to what he does. So as a sportsman he’s had the issues of one side, he’s got the family on the other side, and he balances what he’s passionate about. He completes all the packages, so I like Ronaldo for that reason.”
Joshua’s comments have attracted criticism from the British charity Rape Crisis, which seeks to raise awareness of sexual violence.
According to The Telegraph, the charity’s spokeswoman Katie Russell said it is “inappropriate, insensitive and disrespectful to make jokes or flippant remarks about allegations or instances of sexual violence and abuse in any context.”
Russell added that those in the public eye, including athletes who may be role models, “have a particular responsibility not to trivialize such serious issues.
“Experiences of sexual violence and abuse can have wide-ranging and long-term impacts on victims’ and survivors’ health, lives, and relationships. As a society, we need to develop more empathy and understanding about that if we are ever to see more of those impacted by sexual violence and abuse get the support they need, want, and deserve.”
Joshua met Ronaldo when he was on vacation in Dubai in January.
He posted a photo of the encounter to his Instagram account: