Racing 92 winger, Simon Zebo, has opened up about how he dealt with racism as a child and the alleged abuse aimed at him during his side’s Champions Cup loss to Ulster last weekend.
The 28-year-old took to social media following the game at the Kingspan Stadium and hinted that he had received verbal abuse from certain supporters, which his club has strongly condemned.
A tough place to play but great effort from the boys,2 important points on the road 💪🏾
Also I hope my ears deceived me with some comments directed my way from the crowd #NotOn
Django wins in the end ✌🏾 pic.twitter.com/GAqrQ8W6HQ
— Simon Zebo (@SimonZebo) January 12, 2019
Speaking to Jim Hamilton for Rugby Pass, Zebo confirmed that he has sent his account of the incident to the EPCR for investigation.
“Yeah the CEO of Ulster has been very, very good and very forthcoming in trying to help as much as possible, but I have just sent off my account of things to the EPCR. They’re going to investigate it as far as they can, but it is quite difficult in a full stadium if things like that happen.”
“A lot of players have come out and messaged me and text me and called me and been very supportive because it’s not really a nice thing. But yeah I’ve felt a lot of support and I can just forget about it now, I don’t want to give that negative energy too much attention.”
The former Munster star also recounted how racism was a part of his life growing up in Ireland and that he wanted to take a stance so to set an example for his two children.
“It was something that happened to me quite a bit when I was younger, you know you’re dealing with other kids or children or teenagers, who don’t have the intellect or education at the time to understand how things like that can hurt a person. So it was even more disappointing that I went home and it was an elderly man, 40-plus, so that’s why it just annoyed me a bit. But it is water off a ducks back now for me, I’d be quite bullet-proof in terms of that.”
“But I think if I was just to saying nothing and accept it, then I wouldn’t be putting up much of a fight for myself and I don’t want to come across as a weak character like that for my kids, you know, I stand up for something if I think I believe in it.”
During the interview, Zebo also discussed his Ireland future, the upcoming Six Nations and joked about his life as part of the ‘cartel’ alongside Conor Murray.
Racing 92 face off against the Scarlets in their final Champions Cup Pool game this afternoon. Kick off at La Defense Arena is 3.15pm.
Watch the full interview with Zebo below.