Italy rugby investigates racist gift, club suspends a player

Italy rugby investigates racist gift, club suspends a player post thumbnail image

Italy’s rugby federation opened an investigation Thursday after a Black player at Benetton Treviso was given a rotten banana as a holiday gift.

Benetton also suspended a player for the duration of the probe as a “precautionary” measure, the club said in taking action a day after Cherif Traore aired his frustrations on social media.

Traore, a 28-year-old prop who was born in Guinea, described the anonymous gift from a Secret Santa event as an “offensive gesture” that later prompted apologies from teammates.

The United Rugby Championship earlier Thursday called for Benetton to take “meaningful action.” Benetton is one of two Italian clubs that play in the 16-team competition.

Benetton and the federation then published a joint statement announcing the suspension and the investigation.

Traore also plays for the Italian national team and made two appearances in this year’s Six Nations tournament. He said he had lost sleep over the incident.

Benetton had been criticized for its initial response. The club held a team meeting during which teammates apologized to Traore. The club then announced that Traore accepted the apologies before it posted a video message from Traore on its Twitter account.

Source: AP News

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