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Luis Rubiales Can’t Even Be A Pig Right

Victor Francos at left and RFEF chief Luis Rubiales, smirking in the center, at a reception following the Spanish women's team's triumph in the 2023 Women's World Cup.
Oscar J. Barroso / AFP7 via Getty Images

Being a pig is a full-time job, at least for as long as you can keep it. Luis Rubiales, the creepy and proudly porcine president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), has made a series of self-created bad situations into a fully functional sty. Simply by being himself, Rubiales took what should have been a transcendent moment for his country and its soccer team and made it tawdry and gross, and doubled down on both T and G since then.

This should catch you up what happened in the wake of the Spanish women winning the World Cup on Sunday, up to and including Rubiales manhandling and kissing Spanish player Jenni Hermoso after the game; this is a more detailed compendium of his time as the top pork chop. But since his attempt at an apology for his behavior has failed both as marketing and as extortion, it would seem that Rubiales has now reached the point where he has to be fired for that alone. After all, any bacon-wrapped malignancy can issue a half-arsed apology, but if you can't manage that, then what function do you serve? If you can't even lie passably, what skills do you possess? 

The latest development in this saga, which we suspect will have to be updated later today when Rubiales is finally taken to the rendering house, involves that apology, which among other things was not actually an apology. According to multiple reports, Rubiales pleaded with Hermoso to appear with him in the video, which to her eternal credit she refused to do. After that, embattled coach and fellow fried rind Jorge Vilda went to Hermoso’s relatives, three times, in an attempt to pressure them into pressuring her to take the knee on Rubiales' behalf. It has also been reported that the statement attributed to Hermoso by the federation inferring that all was well and that the kiss was "a mutual gesture that was totally spontaneous due to the immense joy of winning a World Cup” and that “there should be no more made of this gesture of friendship and gratitude" was done without Hermoso’s participation. Iberian ham has never been so well-fertilized, or less palatable.

But these last two days have been more than even the Spanish establishment can swallow, and Rubiales's reputation, such as it was, is now encroaching on Daniel Snyder territory. As gratifying as it may be that Rubiales is now seemingly on track to be fired for the right reasons—grabbing Hermoso's head and kissing her full on the mouth—the truth is that he'll probably be fired for the wrong ones. Specifically, because he couldn't do the two things all management hogs learn during the orientation lecture. These are, in order, how to lie and how to apologize.

It’s the nature of this type of job that those two items don't even have to be convincing. Fans are suckers for a good apology and soft touches for a mediocre one. They're not even that picky about the authorship of the apology. They just want one, written by someone and delivered by someone else. You see, on either side of any ocean, neither organizations nor their bosses are held to much in the way of standards. The power and lack of accountability in those institutions afford their leaders the twin luxuries of the lie being a necessary part of the job and the apology being merely performative and in no way a true reflection of actual contrition. Despite all that, Rubiales has failed spectacularly, twice, to do the absolute minimum.

Actually, that's also a lie. He failed three times, because he couldn't even construct a proper conspiracy to buttress the apology and the lie. We do not know if he offered additional emoluments to try to buy Hermoso’s complicity, but it wouldn't be a surprise if he didn't even think of it; everything he has done suggests that Rubiales's thought process didn't extend beyond Hermoso being a woman, and so someone would do what she was begged or merely told to do. Conspiracies fail when one of the parties to the conspiracy stops playing along, and in this case Hermoso didn't even begin to do so. In fact, we choose to imagine a scenario in which she did this to Rubiales and Vilda rather than England's Chloe Kelly, who has the moral superiority in this matter of having only kicked her.

So let's review. Rubiales is a shitty apologist, a terrible liar, and an embarrassing conspiracy constructor, which means he is not just a repellent human being—we have decided to stop our repeated slander of pigs, who didn't ask for Rubiales to be included within the species—but an atrocious executive as well. Even his supporters, who tried to explain away the disgusting faceplant as just him being an Overexuberant Spaniard, surely get that now. They’re late, but in the same way that people who thought Ron DeSantis could be a proper presidential candidate needed to see him in action to understand what a bad idea that is, watching Rubiales roll around in his mud as the final act of a man in charge of his own demise.

And if you feel a bit cheated that Rubiales's eventual undoing won't be for the right number of reasons, remember what the wizened old Athenian philosopher once said: You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you'll find you get what everyone, especially the women who actually won the World Cup, need.

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