“Apologies to all those who were offended by the atrocities I wrote.”
Argentina rugby captain Pablo Matera has been relieved of his duties and suspended after a number of racist tweets posted by him in the past were unearthed.
Pablo Matera stripped of Argentina captaincy.
Matera is not the only Puma to be suspended, with team-mates Guido Petti and Santiago Socino suspended for similar offensive posts on social media between 2011 and 2013.
The Argentine rugby union was quick to react and condemned the players in an official statement.
Comunicado oficial: La Unión Argentina de Rugby repudia enérgicamente los comentarios discriminatorios y xenófobos publicados por integrantes del plantel de Los Pumas en las redes sociales y reunida en carácter de urgencia, la Mesa Directiva resuelve:
— Unión Argentina de Rugby (@unionargentina) December 1, 2020
“The Argentine Rugby Union strongly repudiates the discriminatory and xenophobic comments published by members of the Los Pumas squad on social networks.
“Although the messages were expressed between 2011 and 2013 and do not represent the integrity as people that the three showed during this time in Los Pumas, from the Argentine Rugby Union we condemn any expression of hatred and we consider it unacceptable that those who express them represent our country.
All three players took to their Instagram accounts to apologise for their previous offensive language directed at black people as well as Bolivians and Paraguayans.
Pablo Matera: I am ashamed.
“Today I have to take charge of what I said 9 years ago. I had a tougher time. I am very ashamed.
“Apologies to all those who were offended by the atrocities I wrote. At that moment I did not imagine who I was going to become.
“I’m also sorry to my team and my family for the moment they are going through my actions and thanks to the people who love me for their support,” Matera said through his Instagram account.
Only a few weeks ago, Matera was being praised for leading the Pumas to a first-ever victory over the All Blacks in their first test match of 2020.
Argentina followed up that victory with a draw with Australia, before succumbing to a 38-0 loss to New Zealand in the third round of the Tri-Nations.
They play Australia for a second time this Saturday in the final round of the Tri-Nations and their preparation will surely be affected by the recent revelations.