Rugby

Zebo Opens Up On The 'Disappointing' Abuse He Suffered During Champions Cup Game

Zebo Opens Up On The 'Disappointing' Abuse He Suffered During Champions Cup Game

Racing 92 and Irish full-back Simon Zebo has opened up on the racist abuse he has suffered since he was a child and spoken out against an incident during Ulster's Champions Cup win over his side at the Kingspan Stadium.

Zebo indicated in a tweet after that game that he heard comments from the crowd which were "not on".

Ulster said they will 'robustly investigate any complaints' and now Zebo has spoken publicly about what exactly occurred.

"I knew I was probably in for a rough time off the crowd when I was going back to play," he told Jim Hamilton in an interview for Rugby Pass.

An Irish player going back to play against another Irish team. Me scoring my try the last day against Ulster and not being shy about celebrating. The type of character I probably am. I'm not an introverted person. I'm not afraid to express myself and play with a smile on my face, not everybody enjoys that or wants that to be the rugby way. I was in for a tough time, got a good bit of stick off the crowd which was quite entertaining for the most part, from minute one to minute forty when I came off.

But it was all good-natured and what have you, it was going in one ear and out the other for 90% of the game. I think somebody just got a bit carried away and there was a lot of noise going on. that's why it will probably be difficult to find. It was like somebody just came up and whispered in my ear.

He went on to explain it is not the first time he has heard such comments: "Somethings that click and stick with you. It was pretty clear to me. What was said was just disappointing. I was coming back to play in my country again. It is something that happened to me quite a bit when I was younger."

Zebo explained that Ulster rugby's CEO has been in contact and fully supportive while he has received messages of support from fans and players on social media. The fact that it occurred on his return to Ireland was particularly disappointing.

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"It was even more disappointing that I went home and it was an elderly man, 40 plus. It just annoyed me a bit. But it is water off a ducks back for me."

"If I was just to say nothing and accept it, 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. I stand up for something if I believe in it."


Racing 92 released a statement last week condemning the alleged 'racist insults' directed at Zebo.

“Racing 92 strongly condemns the racist insults that Simon Zebo was targeted with on Saturday during the European Cup game between this club and Ulster Rugby at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast,” it stated.

“Racism has no place in rugby, in which the values of solidarity and togetherness are the exact opposite of any forms of discrimination.

“Racing, however, does not wish to stigmatise Ulster Rugby as a whole. The insults suffered by Simon Zebo are the actions of only one or two individuals and have been condemned by many Ulster fans who have shown their support for Simon.”

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Maurice Brosnan

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