Female footballer cops death threats over Diego Maradona protest

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Paula Dapena, pictured here refusing to pay tribute to Diego Maradona.
Paula Dapena sat down and turned her back on a tribute to Diego Maradona. Image: Twitter

A female football player in Spain says she’s received death threats from angry fans after refusing to take part in a minute’s silence for Diego Maradona.

Football legend Maradona died last week at the age of 60 after suffering a heart attack at his home.

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The tragedy has sparked an outpouring of grief among fans around the world, with tributes and minutes of silence playing out at numerous games.

However Spanish player Paula Dapena wasn’t willing to honour Maradona when her team observed a minute’s silence over the weekend.

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.

Paula Depena cops death threats over protest

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.”

Diego Maradona, pictured here during a match between Aldosivi and Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata in 2019.
Diego Maradona looks on during a match between Aldosivi and Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata in 2019. (Photo by Marcos Brindicci/Getty Images)

Maradona, widely regarded as one of the greatest football 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.

Dapena said she was upset that Maradona’s death took some of the focus off the push to eliminate violence against women.

“A few days ago, on the Day for the Elimination of Gender Violence, these gestures were not made and if a minute of silence was not observed for the victims, I am not willing to do it for an abuser,” she said.

Dapena’s protest divided opinion around the world, with some slamming her actions and many more commending her.

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with Reuters

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