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Italian rugby player receives rotten banana from teammate in secret Santa

Max Sherry

| Last updated 

Italian rugby player receives rotten banana from teammate in secret Santa

The Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) has been rocked by a shocking racism storm.

Bennetton player Cherif Traore, who was born in Guinea, received a rotten banana from an unknown teammate during the squad's secret Santa ahead of Christmas.

Traore, capped 15 times by the Azzurri, said that 'what hurt the most was to see most of my teammates laughing'.

The disgraceful incident sparked a formal investigation from Italian rugby officials who have since suspended the unnamed teammate of Traore's.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

The sport's governing body released a statement, saying: “The FIR informs that the Federal Prosecutor has launched the investigations necessary to ascertain the facts, as well as the collective and individual responsibilities, to protect the founding values and reputation of the game.

“Benetton Rugby has simultaneously decided to suspend one of its members as a precaution, for the entire duration of the investigations by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.”

In the wake of the incident, Traore took to social media to have his say.

He said: "Apart from finding it an offensive gesture, what hurt me the most was to see that most of my team-mates who were present were laughing.

"I've had to get used to it, having to make a good face on a bad game whenever I hear racist jokes in order to try not to hate the people close to me.

"Yesterday was different, though. Thankfully some comrades, especially foreigners, tried to support me."

He added: "Young guys from different backgrounds attended the Secret Santa.

"I have decided not to remain silent this time to ensure that episodes like this don't happen again to prevent other people finding themselves in my current situation. And hoping the sender will learn a lesson..."

England prop Ellis Genge also spoke out against the racist abuse aimed towards Traore.

“No well done, absolutely right, ‘gifting’ a ‘teammate’ a rotten banana for secret Santa is not a big deal and a simple apology will suffice!” Genge tweeted.

"If there is no further action on this from Benetton then everything we’ve done for “rugby against racism” has been a tick box for most."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Rugby, Rugby Union, Italy

Max Sherry
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