Zero tolerance. That should be both the league and every single team’s motto, especially a club like America. It should be inexcusable for any player on any team to be the cause of domestic violence or any sort of violence against women. Unfortunately, just less than a month ago, we saw Club America forward Renato Ibarra be the latest edition of this kind of violence when he was arrested for domestic violence against his wife Lucely Chalá.
Originally when all of this broke out at the beginning of March, Ibarra was charged with domestic violence, attempted femicide, and attempted abortion. The last charge was on account of his wife being pregnant, which could’ve caused her to lose the baby. And so it appeared he would be spending many years in prison, most likely never playing professionally again.
But after only a few days of Ibarra having been arrested, all of that changed in a blink. Chalá testified in her husband’s second hearing that he had never committed an act of physical violence against her. This meant that the attempts of femicide and abortion were dropped immediately, and Ibarra was let go by the authorities. Many people point to him having reached a deal with Chalá.
Whatever the case may be, we see a very aggressive and disturbed Ibarra in the video, where he appears to be holding a lamp or something of the sort with which he either did make contact with Chalá or in the very least was attempting to before he was held back by others with them in the room. This made Chalá and her sister lock themselves in the closet to shield them from any further aggressions. It is important to make clear that this is never acceptable, no matter what the situation may be.
This past Wednesday, amid speculation that he supposedly wanted Ibarra to come back and remain part of the team, Club America head coach Miguel Herrera appeared on Futbol Picante on ESPN, where he stated, “It was simply gossip, nothing else… Renato has been separated from the team by the front office, that’s it. I don’t know anything else. I haven’t spoken about it with Santiago (Baños) since he told us that we just concentrate on playing, because we were in the middle of our season at that point.”
Herrera then went on to say, “As a soccer player, it’s difficult to let such a good player leave, but at no point did I say that I wanted him to stay, that I’m convincing him, that I spoke with him, and I haven’t even spoken with Renato since the day Santiago (Baños) told us the Renato subject is over with.”
It’s obvious to me that Herrera is stating as clear as he can that the front office wants to take care of this one, and that he is not getting a say at all, which could ultimately confuse some with his choice of words, which aren’t as condemning as one would expect. Knowing Herrera is not a deciding factor here, I fully expect Club America to release a statement soon where they announce either the release of Ibarra, or that he will not play for them again, and will reappear only and if they reach a deal with another team who would be willing to give the Ecuadorian a second chance. America recently signed him to an extension through 2023, so I understand them not wanting to be penalized for releasing him with so much left on his contract.
America, being the most popular and the winningest team in Mexico and having led by example in so many aspects for the sport in Mexico, must continue to set the example with these kinds of cases to make sure they aren’t viewed as an acceptable thing. It is unacceptable to give these players who make so much money for playing a sport and who are role models to so many people (and kids especially) the chance to act so immorally and in such a despicable nature and not do anything about it.
Professional sports athletes, no matter the sport, know they live under constant scrutiny from the public eye. They surely realize that they must be held to the standard of living an ethical and hard-working lifestyle to the very least, and not a problematic and violent one. Just as in the NFL, both the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs stood up to Ray Rice and Kareem Hunt respectively, two superstars at the time they committed their offense. I would expect nothing less from the FMF and especially from America for Renato Ibarra.
It would be disappointing to see any other team in Liga MX not taking this seriously, and sign Ibarra anyway. And for America, considering what they represent and the values they say they stand for, no matter if the Clausura 2020 resumes at some point in the next months or is simply cancelled for good, they should never allow Ibarra to slip on a yellow jersey again.