By Simon Galinier
It’s a joke that can be called very, very bad taste, to put it mildly. On the occasion of the club’s Christmas Treviso (Italy), the transalpine international pillar Cherif Traoreof Guinean origin, received a gift with a racist connotation from his teammates, as he confided on his social networks.
“As a gift, I found a rotten banana…”
The player of the Squadra Azzurra (28 years old; 10 caps) recounts the nightmare that he experienced and which “prevented him from sleeping at night”: “Christmas is approaching and as is the tradition in the team, it’s time for secret santa (Christmas tradition during which the members of a group give each other gifts at random, editor’s note)”. A moment supposed to be “friendly and playful”. “A moment when you can afford to offer anonymous gifts to your companions, even spicy, ironic”, explains the native pillar of Kindia (Guinea), before returning to his terrible misadventure:
“Yesterday, when it was my turn, I found a banana in my gift. A rotten banana, inside a garbage bag. Besides considering the gesture offensive, the thing that bothered me more hurt was to see most of my companions present laughing. As if everything was normal.”
“I haven’t slept all night…I decided not to shut up this time”
Chérif Traoré explains that he had to “get used to putting on a good face every time he hears racist jokes to try not to make close enemies”, but that this bad taste joke is the gesture of too much: “Yesterday was different though. Fortunately, some comrades, especially foreigners, tried to support me. Outside Italy, a gesture like this is seriously condemned even in small realities, and this time I want to have my say. I haven’t slept all night,” he says.
“At this Secret Santa, there were also young boys from different backgrounds. I decided not to be silent this time to make sure that episodes like this don’t happen again and to prevent other people from finding themselves in my current situation in the future. Here’s hoping the shipper learns from this lesson…”
Treviso “condemns all forms of racism and discrimination”
His club of Benetton Treviso reacted quickly to this case, through an official press release. The Italian club “wishes to recall that it has always condemned in the strongest terms any expression of racism or form of discrimination”. “It is not part of our culture and does not represent our identity and our values. We have always demonstrated this with deeds, not just with words, and we will continue to support it firmly”, explain the Trevisan leaders. “Similar behavior has nothing to do with sport, and in the face of episodes like this Benetton Rugby will always be on the side of respect for people, their culture, their ethnicity, their faith and their dignity”.
However, the transalpine formation does not specify whether the author of this horrible racist act will be investigated and punished.
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Rugby. Shame in Italy: Chérif Traoré (Treviso) victim of a racist act for Christmas