AN ITALIAN rugby star has blasted ‘racist’ behavior at his club’s Christmas lunch after being given a rotten banana in a shocking sprite swap.
Benetton rugby props master Cherif Traore couldn’t sleep but “what hurt the most was seeing most of my friends laugh” at his treatment.
The Guinea-born ace, 28, told how what should have been a “friendly and playful” event took a turn when he received a banana in a bin sack.
The 15-cap Azzurri international said he doesn’t usually respond to “racist jokes” to “make enemies” but he has spoken out hoping others will be discouraged from having the same experience.
Traore wrote on social media: “Apart from finding it an insulting gesture, what hurt me the most was seeing most of my teammates present laughing.
“I had to get used to having to put on a good face at a bad game when I hear racist jokes to try not to hate the people around me.
“But yesterday was different. Luckily, some of my comrades, mostly foreigners, tried to support me.”
Traore came to Italy with his family at the age of seven when they immigrated from West Africa.
And he explained why he’s now gone public about the abuse he’s been subjected to.
He said: “Young guys from all backgrounds attended Secret Santa.
“I have decided not to remain silent this time to ensure that such episodes do not happen again, to prevent other people from getting into my current situation. And hoping the sender learns a lesson…”
Benetton Rugby responded with a statement that they have “always condemned with the utmost firmness any expression of racism and/or any form of discrimination”.
The 15-time Italian champions said the incident “has nothing to do with sport” and that the club stands for “respect for people, their culture, their ethnicity, their beliefs and their dignity”.
Benetton also competes against the elite in the United Rugby Championship, the European Rugby Challenge Cup and the European Champions Cup.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6973667/cherif-traore-racial-abuse-banana-secret-santa-italy-rugby/ ‘What hurt me the most was the laughter’ – Italy’s rugby ace Cherif Traore has had a rotten banana abused at the hideous Secret Santa club