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Sport

Spanish player says she got death threats for Maradona violence protest

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Napoli v AS Roma - Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy - November 29, 2020 General view of tributes left for Diego Maradona outside the stadium before the match REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish soccer player Paula Dapena said on Monday she got death threats after she refused to take part in a minute’s silence for Diego Maradona as a protest against domestic violence.

The Viajes Interrias FF midfielder sat down and faced away when her teammates and opponents, Deportivo Abanca, paid their respects to the Argentina star on Saturday, three days after Maradona’s death.

The 24-year-old told the A Diario radio show she had no regrets and would do it again. “I’m not willing to give a domestic abuser a minute’s silence and not the victims,” she said.

Maradona faced accusations of domestic violence after he was caught on video in 2014 arguing with his then girlfriend and appearing to hit her.

He denied the accusations, saying: “I grabbed the phone but I swear to God that I have never hit a woman.” No charges were brought.

Dapena said she had received lots of expressions of support “but I’ve also received death threats - and so have some of my teammates”.

“We were giving a minute’s silence to someone who committed domestic violence,” she said.

“For me, that’s something that my feminist ideals can’t allow: a tribute to Maradona ... For me he was an incredible player, but as a person he left a lot to be desired.”

Maradona, widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time before drug and alcohol addiction marred his career, died on Wednesday - the same day as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Reporting by Joseph Walker; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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