Cuca's crime

Image: Clara Figueiredo, untitled, digitalized photomontage, 2017
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By HELENA PONTES DOS SANTOS & PAULO DE CARVALHO YAMAMOTO*

Why would a Corinthians fan and a São Paulo club fan support against Santos in the Libertadores final?

The huge football rivalry between the three biggest clubs in São Paulo is nothing new. Among club members – people who, regardless of the reason, take pride in defending their teams in absolutely every situation – sympathizing, even minimally, with any of the rivals is an unforgivable sin.

Thus, in the face of a Brazilian final in the Copa Libertadores between Palmeiras and Santos, fans of Corinthians and São Paulo tend to – given the impossibility of rooting for the defeat of both rivals or of rooting for the arbitration to win – wish for the defeat of the arch-rival of the same city (which is not synonymous with cheering for the other team – also because “cheer” is a very strong word). Not that the "bunch of crazy people" or tricolors have any good feelings for Pelé and Neymar's team, quite the contrary. However, perhaps, the geographical distance of alvinegro from Vila Belmiro or, more likely, the greater aversion to alviverde weighs when watching a game that, well, let's face it, we will watch.

But not this time. Although both of us refuse to assume that we will support the team that succeeded Palestra Itália, the truth is that we want Santos Futebol Clube to lose. If, eventually, this matters in the victory of the “verdão”, patience…

The players of the Santos team, captained by the talented and charismatic goalscorer Marinho, bring brilliance and promise of a glorious future for Brazilian football. However, neither the talent nor the charisma of Marinho and his colleagues or even the proletarian origin of the club are capable of softening our total repudiation of the figure of Alex Stival, better known as Cuca, the coach of Santos.

Today, Cuca parades through the cameras of the national press with his gentle way of speaking that, along with his T-shirts with Catholic images, makes up his persona as a respectable good man. Anyone who sees him being praised by sports programs across the country cannot imagine (or forget) that the former coach of Palmeiras and São Paulo was convicted in Switzerland of having participated in the rape of a 13-year-old girl.

The facts are from July 1987, when Grêmio went to compete in the Philips Cup, a friendly tournament promoted by the Berner Sport Club Young Boys, a team from the Swiss capital. At the time, the Brazilian press, especially the Rio Grande do Sul press, tried to transform the four attackers – in addition to Cuca, striker Fernando Luís Castoldi, defender Henrique Arlindo Etges and goalkeeper Eduardo Hamester – into heroes, as denounced by the women. anthropologists Carmen Rial and Miriam Pillar Grossi – in fact, we strongly advise you to read the article.

The Justice of that country, after 28 days of imprisonment, allowed the players to respond to the process in freedom, which culminated in the conviction of the four in 1989. Needless to say that, being in Brazil, none of them served a single day in prison for the sentence carried over on trial in Switzerland.

Here is a warning: we do not intend to pursue Cuca or any other person accused or convicted of any crime. Nor are we here to ask for the arrest of anyone, we believe that the incarceration policy performs in the capitalist system the primary function of imprisoning people who are part of oppressed and exploited groups in order to facilitate the control of the workforce and guarantee the demotion of their value.

For us, the fight against crimes such as rape cannot take place only in the legal field, requiring investment in education aimed at building a society attentive to gender equality and respect for diversity. Hence the importance that the debate on this type of case be done seriously and with a view to overcoming the model in which we live.

As pointed out Eliane Alves Cruz in a society that has violence against women as one of its mainstays, thirty years may be a short time to understand that there is nothing natural about men acting in such a violent and inhumane way.

At that time, most of society and especially the sports press united in defense of the condemned. Although the “rape culture” has persisted, we saw, with the Robinho case, that times have changed. It is no longer acceptable for players who despise women's lives to be celebrated for their accomplishments on the pitch, regardless of their actions off the pitch. If we want to build a safe and equal society for our daughters, then the role model we look up to cannot be rapists.

But if, with good reason, we reject Robinho, why are we silent about him? Cuca? Possibly racism – which usually goes hand in hand with sexism – still has its place in this hateful equation.

It is curious that, from an institutional point of view, everyone is in favor of gender equality, so much so that, in 2018, Santos Futebol Clube joined the campaign #HeForShe, a commendable initiative by UN Women. However, such gestures and beautiful words are emptied in the face of the sad fact that the Santos team continues to be managed by someone who was convicted of his participation in the rape of a 13-year-old girl.

It would be elegant to say that we have nothing against Santos but against Cuca. But, as club members that we are, this is not exactly true. We have an aversion to fish and an even greater horror to pork. None of this, however, comes close to the aversion we have to the inhuman acts that Cuca practiced, he was convicted, but he was never held accountable.

*Helena Pontes dos Santos, corintiana, club member, is a master's student in law at USP and public servant.

*Paulo de Carvalho Yamamoto, são-paulino, club member, is a doctoral candidate in law at USP and a lawyer.

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