The thought of Bruno Fernandes de Souza working again has sent shockwaves around the sports world.
The Brazilian soccer goalkeeper joined second-division club Boa Esporte on Monday. Just over one month ago, he was serving a 22-year sentence for ordering the 2010 kidnapping, torture, murder and dismemberment of his ex-girlfriend, Eliza Samudio. Her body was never recovered, and Bruno’s cousin told a court her body parts were fed to the player’s dogs.
Most expected Bruno to serve 15 more years behind bars on his 2013 conviction, but he was released last month on a technicality, while his lawyers appeal his conviction.
Boa Esporte quickly signed the one-time Brazil national team hopeful on a two-year contract, and he could return to the field in the coming months.
But signing Bruno predictably has sparked outrage from near and far. Sponsors Nutrends Nutrition, CardioCenter and Magsul have ended their partnerships with the team, according to the Guardian’s Jonathan Watts. Fans and social media users also are in an uproar.
However, Boa Esporte stands by its signing of the 32-year-old goalkeeper.
“Esporte Clube was not responsible for the release and freedom of the athlete Bruno,” Boa Esporte president Rone Moraes da Costa said on Facebook, according to CNN’s Marilia Brocchetto and Shasta Darlington. Da Costa added his club was “giving work to those who intend to recover.”
Boa Esporte said in another Facebook post Bruno “deserves a new opportunity as a professional. … The club has no relation with Bruno’s personal actions, nor with his past, having hired only the professional.”
But few are willing to side with the club’s viewpoint, and the club should prepare for weeks, months and years of criticism.