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Outrage As Benetton Prop Shares 'Racist' Secret Santa Gift From Teammate

Outrage As Benetton Prop Shares 'Racist' Secret Santa Gift From Teammate
By Michael Bolton Updated
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Benetton and Italy prop Cherif Traore has accused his side of racism after receiving a "rotten banana" during a secret santa exchange.

The 28-year-old was born in Guinea and has lived in Italy since he was seven. Traore has played with Benetton since 2015.

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Traore made the announcement in a now deleted  Instagram post, where he expressed his disappointment at his Benetton teammates laughing at the incident.

"A friendly and playful moment. A moment where you can give anonymous gifts to your mates, even ironic ones. Yesterday, when it was my turn, I found a banana inside my present. A rotten banana, inside a wet bag.

Apart from finding it an offensive gesture, what hurt me the most was to see that most of my teammates who were present were laughing, as if it was all normal.

I’m used to it, or I’ve had to get used to it, having to put a brave face on whenever I hear racist jokes in order to try not to hate the people close to me. Yesterday was different though. Thankfully, some friends, especially foreigners, tried to support me. Outside Italy a gesture like this is severely condemned.

I’ve been up all night. Young guys from different backgrounds attended this Secret Santa. I decided not to keep quiet this time to ensure that episodes like this do not happen again".

Simon Zebo was among those in the rugby community to make his feelings known, calling for Benetton to the player that made the disgusting gesture.

Since the vile move was made public, Benetton have made a statement condemning the incident.

"With reference to the post that appeared this morning on the social profiles of Cherif Traorè, Benetton would like to reiterate that it has always condemned with the utmost firmness any expression of racism and/or form of discrimination.

That is not part of our culture and does not represent our identity and our values.We have always proved it with deeds, not just with words. Similar behaviours have nothing to do with sport and in the face of episodes like this Benetton will always be on the side of respecting people, their culture, their ethnicity, their faith and their dignity."

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