Cherif Traore: Italy prop master calls out Benetton Treviso teammates over ‘racist’ joke | Rugby Union News

Cherif Traore: Italy prop master calls out Benetton Treviso teammates over ‘racist’ joke | Rugby Union News

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Cherif Traore, who has 16 caps for Italy including during the 2022 Six Nations, took to social media to outline what he calls an “offensive gesture”; United Rugby Championship club Benetton said they take a strong stance against racism but made no mention of an investigation

Last updated: 12/21/22 7:39 p.m

Cherif Traore

Cherif Traore

Italian prop master Cherif Traore has revealed he was given a rotten banana as a gift during Benetton’s Secret Santa in an incident that made teammates laugh.

The Guinea-born, 28-year-old, who has won 16 caps including during the 2022 Six Nations, took to social media to outline what he described as an “offensive gesture”.

After initially responding by releasing a statement condemning any form of racism, United Rugby Championship Club later said all staff had been called to a meeting with the President and General Manager addressing the squad before Traore’s teammates apologized to him.

None of Benetton’s statements indicated that further investigations would be conducted or that any action would be taken against the person responsible for the incident.

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Traore wrote on Instagram on Wednesday morning: “Christmas is just around the corner and as is tradition in a team, it’s santa season.

“A friendly and playful moment. A moment when you give your friends anonymous gifts, even stingy, ironic ones.

“Yesterday, when it was my turn, I found a banana in my gift. A rotten banana in a bag full of moisture.

“Aside from calling the gesture offensive, what hurt me the most was seeing most of my buddies present laughing. As if everything were normal.

“I’m used to it. Or rather, I’ve had to get used to putting on a brave face whenever I hear racist jokes to try not to hate the people around me. However, yesterday was different.

“Fortunately, some comrades, especially foreigners, tried to support me. Outside of Italy, such a gesture is severely condemned, even in small cases, and this time I want to do my part.

“I was awake the whole night. Young guys from different backgrounds took part in this secret Santa Claus.

“I have chosen not to remain silent this time to ensure that episodes like this do not happen again and to prevent other people from getting caught up in my current situation in the future. And hoping that the sender learns his lesson…”

Traore arrived in Italy at the age of seven and traveled with his family from Guinea in West Africa to his father, who had already emigrated to Europe.

He has represented Italy at U20, A and senior levels and made his Azzurri debut against Japan in 2018 when Conor O’Shea was in charge.

Benetton’s initial statement read: “Referring to the post that appeared on social media this morning from green and white player Cherif Traore, Benetton would like to reiterate that it has always, in the strongest possible terms, condemned any expression of racism and/or any form of discrimination .

“They are not part of our culture and do not represent our identity and our values. We have always proven it with actions, not just words, and we will continue to strongly support it.

“Similar behavior has nothing to do with sport and in the face of such incidents, Benetton will always stand by respecting people, their culture, ethnicity, faith and dignity.”

Benetton later said president Amerino Zatta and general manager Antonio Pavanello called a meeting where they “reaffirmed” to the squad the club’s “firm position of condemnation” against racism.

The club’s second release also included a new statement from Traore, in which he said: “The meeting this afternoon was an opportunity to discuss and understand how what one of my companions did on the occasion of exchanging Christmas presents, just that Result of idiocy and nothing is other.

“I appreciate and accept his apology and that of the entire team. I’m happy with the gesture and I’m sure what happened will make the group even more solid. We are a family and as such we will continue to get involved and off the pitch we fight as always against all forms of discrimination.”

Club president Zatta added: “What happened against Cherif in no way reflects our identity and the values ​​that the Benetton family has carried for years.

“I’m glad Cherif accepted the apology and understood the absurd stupidity of one of his teammates. I am sure that this will strengthen the feeling of togetherness within the group and that such a gesture will never find fertile ground among us again.” Family.”

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