Italian rugby player suspended after giving Black teammate rotten banana 

Francis Akhalbey January 30, 2023
Cherif Traoré's White teammate gave him a rotten banana during a team event -- Photo via cherif_traore on Instagram

A White athlete who plays for Italy’s national rugby team was on Friday suspended until the end of the season after he gave his Black teammate a rotten banana. According to The Associated Press, Ivan Nemer, who also plays for Benetton, gave the rotten banana to Cherif Traoré when the team held a secret Santa gift exchange event in December.

In the wake of the incident, Traoré, who originally hails from Guinea, took to social media to register his displeasure over what happened. He also particularly took offense with his teammates laughing after Nemer gave him the rotten banana. His teammates were later told to render an apology to him. 

And though the incident occurred last year, it was only on Friday that the Italian Rugby Federation revealed the person who gave the rotten banana to Traoré was Nemer. The White rugby player is suspended until June 30. Nemer has also waived his right to file an appeal.

“Racism has never had and will never have any role in my life, as it should never have in the life of each of us,” Nemer, who was born in Argentina, said. “I regret deeply what happened, the stupidity of my gesture, the upset it caused to a friend, the fact that I caused damage to my team, to my teammates, to the country I represent and the game I love.”

Besides the suspension, Nemer has also been ordered to partake in a training and awareness program. His performance in the program will determine if he’ll be recalled to the national team.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: January 31, 2023


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