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Benetton respond to racist Christmas gift given to Cherif Traore

Cherif Traore

Benetton Rugby have released a statement in response to the racist Christmas gift that was given to Cherif Traore by a team mate.

Traore, a Guinea-born Italy international, revealed that a team mate of his at Benetton gave him a rotten banana as a ‘Secret Santa’ gift in an Instagram post this morning.

The 29-year-old did not reveal which team mate gave him the racist gift, although he states that many of the players partaking laughed when he opened the present.

Traore acknowledged that some team mates have supported him, non-Italians in particular, but that he has spoken out in order to avoid racist incidents like this in the future.

Cherif Traore on the racist Christmas gift he was given.

“Christmas is coming and as per tradition in the team it’s time for the Secret Santa. A convivial and playful moment. A moment where you can afford to give anonymous gifts to your companions, even pungent, ironic ones,” Traore wrote.

“Yesterday, when it was my turn, I found a banana inside my present. A rotten banana, inside a wet bag. In addition to considering the gesture offensive, the thing that hurt me the most was seeing most of my companions present laughing.
As if everything was normal.

“I’m used to, or rather, I’ve had to get used to, having to put on a brave face every time I hear racist jokes to try not to make enemies close to me anyway. Yesterday was different though.

“Fortunately, some comrades, especially foreigners, have tried to support me. Outside of Italy a gesture like this is seriously condemned even within small realities, and this time I want to have my say. I haven’t slept all night.

“At this Secret Santa there were also young boys of different origins. I have decided not to be silent this time to ensure that episodes like this do not happen again to prevent other people from finding themselves in my current situation in the future.

“And hoping the sender learns a lesson.”


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A post shared by Cherif Traorè (@cherif_traore)

The club has released a statement.

Benetton Rugby have released a statement in response to Traore’s post in which the club condemns discrimination, although it has not been stated if any action will be taken over the incident.

“With reference to the post that appeared this morning on the social profiles of the green-and-white player Cherif Traore, Benetton Rugby would like to reiterate that it has always condemned with the utmost firmness any expression of racism and/or form of discrimination,” the statement reads.

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

“Similar behaviours have nothing to do with sport and in the face of episodes like this Benetton Rugby will always be on the side of respecting people, their culture, their ethnicity, their faith and their dignity.”

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