Second division Brazilian squad Boa Esporte is in the news for all of the wrong reasons after announcing on Monday that they have signed goalkeeper Bruno Fernandes de Souza to a two-year contract. Bruno, as he is known professionally, previously made worldwide headlines for ordering a hit on his ex-girlfriend, Eliza Samudio, which led to her torture and murder in 2010. He was released from jail last month, after serving just 4 of his sentenced 22 years, due to a loophole in Brazil’s appeal laws.
Bruno was able to secure his temporary freedom after his lawyer successfully petitioned that the courts had been too slow in hearing his appeal. This does not mean that the former Flamengo goalkeeper is innocent; on the contrary, he is not even appealing his guilt, focusing instead of reducing his final sentence by challenging procedural matters from his original trial. Bruno already confessed to his role in the crime, admitting that he conspired with friends to torture and strangle Samudio, before disposing of her body by feeding it to his dogs.
Since Boa Esporte’s announcement on Monday, three sponsors (Nutrends Nutrition, CardioCenter and Magsul) have already pulled support from the club, and women’s advocacy groups have released statements condemning the move. The club released a statement on Tuesday saying that, under Brazilian law, Bruno had been punished justly, and that they were helping him adjust back to society, even stating that they are offering him the “dignity of work.”
There is already a protest scheduled for Tuesday night, with organizers stating that “we protest both against this contract and against the willingness of the team and its sponsors to have their images linked to feminicide. A woman-killer must not be allowed a life acclaimed by the media. Bruno is no longer just a goalkeeper; his notoriety reflects the ease with which a woman’s life is forgotten in the interests of a sporting career.”
Bruno’s signing comes just a week after Cruzeiro donned special jerseys to honor International Women’s Day and bring awareness to issues affecting women in Brazilian society. Among the causes highlighted by the club’s jerseys? Feminicide.