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Cherif Traore accepts apology after receiving racist gift from team mate

Cherif Traore

Cherif Traore says he has accepted apologies from his team mates at Benetton after he received a racist Christmas gift.

Traore, a Guinea-born Italy international, revealed on Instagram yesterday that he had received a rotten banana as a ‘Secret Santa’ gift from one of his team mates, which many members of Benetton’s squad found amusing.

The racist gift has been widely condemned, with Ireland’s Simon Zebo calling for the player responsible to be sacked, although a statement from Benetton suggests that such an action is unlikely.

In a second statement on the matter, after a largely generic first statement, Benetton announced that the entire squad was summoned over the incident and that apologies were made to Traore.

Benetton’s second statement on the incident.

Traore is quoted in that statement in which he says he has accepted the apologies and described the team as a family.

“This afternoon’s meeting was an opportunity to discuss and understand how what one of my companions did on the occasion of exchanging Christmas presents is purely the result of idiocy and nothing other,” Traore said.

“I appreciated and accepted his apologies and those 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 commit ourselves on and off the pitch, fighting, as we always have, against all forms of discrimination.”

Benetton’s president Amerino Zatta and co-captain Michele Lamaro are also quoted in the statement in which they both condemn any form of discrimination.

Cherif Traore further explains his thoughts on the matter.

Traore also posted another message on Instagram, in which he says he wants to forgive the person responsible for the racist incident, but that he will not forget it.

“Christmas is kindness, Christmas is gratitude, Christmas is forgiveness. This year I take these words for my life and I want to put them into practice,” Traore wrote.

“We don’t always get what we deserve and I admit it hurts when that happens. But if you want to receive good, start doing it first, right?

“The episode I experienced is now viral and tonight I want to take this step first. I’m not like whoever made me experience this. The words of my Christmas ’22 will be ‘kindness, gratitude and forgiveness’.

“‘Good’ because I want to take this situation and turn it to ‘good’. One day look back and be proud of the choice I made. I am grateful for my club, my team and everyone who has shown me solidarity.

“And I want to forgive, which I admit, doesn’t mean forgetting the story, nor being passive in front of what happened. But I want to lick my wounds and keep my head held high without weight on my heart.

“I’m ready to start ’23 with the smile and grit that has always distinguished me. Will you be by my side?”

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