Italy's black prop Traore blasts racism after rotten banana Christmas gift

Italy's black prop Traore blasts racism after rotten banana Christmas gift

Cherif Traore (L) has made 16 appearances for Italy since his 2018 debut
Cherif Traore (L) has made 16 appearances for Italy since his 2018 debut. Photo: Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP/File
Source: AFP

Treviso's Italy prop Cherif Traore said on Wednesday he would no longer stay silent about the racism he has suffered after a club team-mate gave him a rotten banana as a Christmas present.

The 28-year-old, born in Guinea, said he received the item on Tuesday during a Secret Santa exchange with his team, a game where individuals buy presents that are then distributed anonymously among a group of people.

"As well as considering the gesture offensive, the thing that hurt me the most was seeing most of my companions present laughing. As if everything was normal," Traore, who has 16 caps for the national side, said on Instagram.

"I am used to, or rather I have had to get used to, having to put on a brave face every time I hear racist jokes... but yesterday was different."

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He said younger men "of different backgrounds" attended the Secret Santa, and "I have decided not to stay silent this time, so that events like this do not happen again... and hoping that the sender will learn a lesson".

In a statement, Treviso, backed by clothing company Benetton, said they reiterated their "strong condemnation of all expressions of racism and/or forms of discrimination", adding they were "not part of our culture and do not represent our identity and our values".

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"Behaviour like this has nothing to do with sport, and in the face of events like this, Benetton Rugby will always be on the side of respect for people, their culture, their ethnicity, their faith and their dignity."

Source: AFP

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