Given the response to his club’s tweeted status last weekend, you might have expected Cristiano Ronaldo’s entourage would be keeping a closer eye than usual on statements about their charge emerging into the public domain. Cristiano is used to golden breezes caressing his bronze and chiselled cheek so the harsh blowback from the press and social media over Juventus ‘great professional’ comments will have chapped his face quite badly.
Someone’s taken their eye of the ball here and it’s not Ronaldo, who was desperate to score during Juventus’ 2-0 victory over Udinese on Saturday. He duly dispatched in the 37th minute, and we shouldn’t be surprised. He’s a man who’s demonstrated time and again that pressure is like adrenalin to him. He thrives with the extra pressure pulsing through his veins, climbing higher and fighting harder than any other competitor.
But earlier this week, presumably when the handlers’ eyes were on other business, Ronaldo’s mother Dolores Aveiro and sister Katia Aveiro posted an image of the forward’s head photoshopped onto the body of Superman; #justicacr7 (Justice for CR7) and #ronaldoestamoscontigoatéaofim (Ronaldo we are with you until the end) hashtagged below.
Casting your son and brother as the superhero in a classic good vs. evil narrative involving allegations of sexual misconduct is a bold step, even during the current age of the ghastly spectacular. If meant as a simple gesture of familial support it’s hard to imagine it occurred to no one that by turning on this particular light, you’re can’t help but create a heavy shadow.
Kathryn Mayorga is in that shadow. In this story at least. But we should resist the temptation to cast her as the cartoon villain. She’s a human being about to be exposed to a nightmarishly thorough examination of her life. Most of which will be speculated upon by the press and social media.
Whichever side you’re on (and be under no illusion, you’re going to have to pick a side) you must agree that as things stand both parties should be allowed to present their version of the facts fairly and comprehensively. At best a call of #justicacr7 might attract the wrong crowd to this process. Diversions and sideshows.
Belief in an individual for their sporting prowess is not a foundation for making sound legal judgements. I’d like to think that people would keep their support for Ronaldo confined to his social media channels and not those connected to Mayorga, as I’m sure was the intention of Ronaldo’s family, but I’ve been on the internet. I know what goes on.
Our opinions, like our black mirrors, are becoming binary and it’s dangerous. If we’re not taking sides when Jack and Dani have a row, we’re arguing over the guilt or innocence of the protagonists from The Staircase or Making a Murderer. We’re actively encouraged to speculate on bits and pieces of evidence when creating opinions of celebrities, politicians, UK referenda, even the Strictly curse is becoming a public obsession.
These issues may appear to be insignificant in the grand scheme of things, although Seann Walsh and Rebecca Humphries might beg to differ. Binary speculation has a decisive role in the #MeToo era though, as we saw in the he said, she said unpleasantness that was Brett Kavanaugh’s entrance to the US Supreme Court.
If we stand a chance of moving forward to a better place, we need to be prepared the learn all the lessons #MeToo and other movements are going to teach us, not just the ones we can accomodate. Realising how damaging our bad habit of jumping to conclusions based on little or no evidence will be among them.