Argentine Rugby Union has suspended captain Pablo Matera and two other members of the national team over “discriminatory and xenophobic” comments published by the players on social media.
This comes after Matera led the Pumas to their first win over the All Blacks two weeks ago.
Comunicado oficial: La Unión Argentina de Rugby repudia enérgicamente los comentarios discriminatorios y xenófobos publicados por integrantes del plantel de Los Pumas en las redes sociales y reunida en carácter de urgencia, la Mesa Directiva resuelve:
— Unión Argentina de Rugby (@unionargentina) December 1, 2020
Argentine Rugby Union said in a statement: “The Argentine Rugby Union strongly condemns the discriminatory and xenophobic comments published by members of the Los Pumas team on social networks and, meeting urgently, the Board of Directors resolves: In the first place, revoke the captaincy of Pablo Matera and request the staff to propose a new captain to the Board of Directors.
“Second, suspend Pablo Matera, Guido Petti and Santiago Socino from the national team until their disciplinary situation is defined.
“Third, initiate a disciplinary process for the three mentioned players, in charge of the Disciplinary Commission of the Argentine Rugby Union.
“Although the messages were expressed between 2011 and 2013 and do not represent the integrity as people that the three showed during this time in Los Pumas, from the Argentine Rugby Union we condemn any expression of hatred and consider it unacceptable that those who express them represent our country.”
One of Pablo Matera’s racist tweets allegedly relates to him expressing relief about leaving a ‘country full of blacks’ back in 2012.
According to an Argentinean newspaper, the tweet read: ‘SUDAFRICA BABY! Por fin me voy de este país Ileno de negros. OUCH!’
This translates into: ‘South Africa baby! At last I’m leaving this country full of blacks. Ouch!’
Another translation of a racist tweet from 2012 is believed to have read: ‘Nice morning to go out in the car to tread over blacks’, while he made xenophobic comments about Bolivians and Paraguayans.
Matera deleted his Twitter account in the wake of the announcement, however he did post an apology on Instagram.
He wrote: “I had a tougher time. I am very ashamed. Apologies to all those who were offended by the atrocities I wrote.
“At that moment I did not imagine who I was going to become. Today I have to take charge of what I said 9 years ago.
“I’m also sorry to my team and my family for the moment they are going through my actions and thanks to the people who love me for their support.”