Two days after captain Pablo Matera and two other players were banned from making racist social media posts, the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) withdrew its decision.
Flanker Matera was robbed of the captain and suspended along with Castle Guido Petti and hooker Santiago Socino on Tuesday for comments published between 2011 and 2013 that belittle blacks and people from other South American countries.
Matera’s tweets included comments about how he ran over black people in his car and celebrated leaving South Africa because it was « full of blacks ». .
« The Argentine Rugby Union strongly opposes the discriminatory and xenophobic comments posted on social media by members of the Los Pumas team, » it said in an initial statement.
Since then, the players have apologized, according to UAR, and along with their good behavior over the years since the comments were posted, the Board of Directors has lifted the ban.
« The preventive measures are unnecessary, so we have decided to lift the three players’ ban and move the captain back to Pablo Matera, » said a statement.
« The disciplinary process continues and the Commission will find a final solution in the next few days. «
Despite being reinstated, Matera, Petti and Socino did not have to face the Wallabies at Parramatta Stadium in the last Tri-Nations game on Saturday. Center Jeronimo de la Fuente was appointed captain.
Coach Mario Ledesma said the reinstatement was in consultation with UAR to protect the players after having been subjected to « a lot of hatred » in recent days.
« All I can say about these three good players and great men is that they are great people, » he said at a press conference in Sydney.
« They have suffered a lot this week, their families have suffered a lot this week, and it is really sad to see. Obviously, they acknowledge what they did and they really feel sorry and ashamed of what they did and we all are. «
The UAR said the players have shown themselves to be « people with set values who are worth being part of our team ». .
According to reports in Argentina, the UAR reversal was the result of protests from past and current players and clubs in the country.
The storm over historical social media posts followed criticism of the team for not doing enough to mark the recent death of Argentine soccer player Diego Maradona prior to their loss to New Zealand last week.
Matera later apologized for the omission, and the discovery of the posts ended a crash for the flanker, who was lauded around the world last month for leading the Pumas to their first Test win over the All Blacks.
Ledesma said players have changed in the years since the social media posts were made, which the UAR described as « unwise and immature ». .
« I can say that they are not the same people they were when they were 17, 18, » Ledesma said.
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AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time, 10 hours before GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
Argentine National Rugby Team, Pablo Matera, Australian National Rugby Team, Mario Ledesma, Guido Petti
World News – AU – Two days after racist tweets were banned, Argentina’s rugby captain has been reinstated
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