The suspension for old racist tweets of three players of the Argentina rugby team, including captain Pablo Matera, has been lifted, their federation announced on Thursday, which had nevertheless deemed Tuesday "unacceptable" that they wear the argentinian jersey.
"Maintaining these measures taken as a precaution is not necessary, and it was decided to lift the suspension of the three players and return the captaincy to Pablo Matera", announced in a statement the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) .
️Communicado oficial sobre el proceso disciplinario a Pablo Matera, Guido Petti y Santiago Socinohttps: //t.co/cysqipbFgM
- Unión Argentina de Rugby (@unionargentina) December 3, 2020
This about-face comes two days after the announcement of the suspension of Pablo Matera, Guido Petti and Santiago Socino, who will however not play Saturday against Australia, where the Pumas are to play the Rugby Championship, tournament this year in three with New Zealand.
"They have reached an agreement with the federation which includes that they do not play this match, but what I can say is that they are three good players and three great men, great human beings, defended the Argentina coach. Mario Ledesma.
They have suffered a lot this week, their families have suffered a lot, it's sad to see. "
They are not the same people as at 17 or 18, they are great men, fathers of families
Mario Ledesma, Argentina coach
Matera, Petti and Socino had been punished after the dissemination on social networks of a series of xenophobic and discriminatory tweets written between 2011 and 2013. The controversy erupted as the Argentinian team found itself at the heart of another controversy after his tribute deemed reduced in honor of the Argentine legend Diego Maradona during the meeting against New Zealand (defeat 38-0).
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In these tweets, Matera, now 27 years old and playing in the third row position at the French Stadium in Paris, spoke of “overthrowing black people” with his car and denigrating the Bolivians and Paraguayans.
"They are not the same people as at 17 or 18, they are great men, fathers of families," Ledesma again defended.
The three players expressed deep repentance and reiterated the apologies they have already made
“The UAR Disciplinary Commission summoned the players concerned to appear.
The federation rejects this type of behavior but also believes that the defamatory accusations that have arisen from it affect the whole of Argentine rugby and do not represent what our sport is, ”said the federation.
During their appearance, “the three players expressed deep repentance and reiterated the apologies they have already made, assuring that these tweets did not reflect their thinking and that they had shown immaturity.
However, they fully assume their actions and remain at the disposal of any inquiries into the circumstances, ”added the UAR.
For the disciplinary committee, the attitude of the three players during the hearing makes it unnecessary to maintain these suspensions as a precaution.
When the suspension was announced, the federation had justified it by the fact that, "if the messages date back to 2011 and 2013, the UAR condemns any expression of hatred and considers that those who express them cannot represent our country" .
The sanctions had however caused tensions between the players of the selection on the one hand, defending their teammates, and former players as well as several clubs who supported the decision.
Las cosas que dijeron los chicos años atrás nadie las comparte.
Creo yo, that cometieron an error.
También creo en las segundas oportunidades y en los hombres que se convirtieron hoy reconociendo sus errores, pidiendo disculpas, dando la cara y asumiendo sus responsilidades.
- Juan Martin Hernandez (@HERNANDEZJUANI) December 1, 2020
The former Pumas rear, Juan Martin Hernandez, however, had asked for leniency.
“The things the boys said years ago, no one shares them.
I think they made a mistake.
I also believe in second chances and in the men they have become and who today recognize their mistakes, apologize and take responsibility. ”
Saturday, in the absence of Matera, it is the center Jeronimo de la Fuente who will be captain against Australia in Sydney, for the last match of the Rugby Championship.
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