Argentina rugby stars suspended over antisemitic tweets, before being reinstated
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Argentina rugby stars suspended over antisemitic tweets, before being reinstated

Offensive messages sent by Pablo Matera, the team’s captain, as well as Guido Petti and Santiago Socino discovered this week

Rugby (Photo by Hanson Lu on Unsplash)
Rugby (Photo by Hanson Lu on Unsplash)

Three players from Argentina’s national rugby team were suspended after antisemitic and other hateful messages from a decade ago were discovered on Twitter and spread on social media.

Two days later, however, following pressure from members of the national team and other Argentine rugby clubs, the Argentina Rugby Union reinstated the players, who were allowed to play in the squad’s next match on Saturday.

The messages, also against Black people and immigrants from neighbouring countries, were made in 2011-12 by Pablo Matera, the team’s captain, as well as Guido Petti and Santiago Socino, and discovered last week.

“What a mess could be in Villa Crespo if Hitler were alive,” Socino wrote, referring to the Jewish-backed soccer team Atlanta from the Jewish neighbourhood of Villa Crespo. A hashtag used a slang expression that refers to the idea of killing Jews to make soap.

In another tweet, Socino mocked circumcision and made reference to the stereotype of Jews being cheap.

Matera spoke of “running over blacks” with his car and disparaged Bolivians and Paraguayans.

The Argentine Jewish political umbrella, DAIA, responded on Twitter.

“The hatred and racism with which he refers to different groups reveals the contempt for equality and human diversity from who today is one of the representatives of Argentina,” the group wrote.

The National Institute against Discrimination also condemned the tweets.

In its condemnation, the only Jewish rugby club in Argentina, Sociedad Hebraica Argentina, said it wasn’t a problem of the sport.

“The problem is in our society, which is increasingly violent and with a lack of values,” the club’s president, Jonathan Lemcovich, said in an interview with by C5N TV. “Education is the key.”

The Argentina Rugby Union opened a disciplinary proceeding, saying the players’ suspension would last “until their disciplinary situation is defined,” before the pushback. Matera also was stripped of the captaincy.

“The Argentina Rugby Union condemns any instance of hate speech and considers it unacceptable that anyone expressing those views would represent our country,” its statement said after the tweets came under public scrutiny.

On Friday, following a meeting of the union and DAIA, the union’s website said the Jewish group offered its pedagogical tools and agreed to tackle “a series of trainings in order to raise awareness and reflecting on the problem of discrimination, and to value of cultural diversity.”

The controversy erupted just two weeks after the national team’s historic victory over the world power All Blacks of New Zealand, 21-15, at the Tri Nations Tournament in Sydney. The win, led by Matera, marked the first time Argentina had ever beaten the New Zealanders.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments