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Thursday Dec 3, 2020

'Apparently they’re great blokes that need protection for what they’re facing from their actions' - Hewitt

Following the Argentinian Rugby Union’s decision to reinstate Pablo Matera as captain and lift the suspension of Guido Petti and Santiago Socino, Dragons winger Ashton Hewitt has said that their statement was “exactly the opposite of what the statement should look like”.

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Matera, Petti and Socino were suspended on Tuesday for “discriminatory and xenophobic” social media posts made between 2011 and 2013, which Hewitt saw as an opportunity for “an education piece”.

But the UAR explained their decision to rescind the suspensions as “the three players expressed their deep regret,” and that “they have not repeated similar actions during these more than eight years”.

However, Hewitt had already said on Twitter earlier this week that “making [Matera] say sorry isn’t really going to solve anything”.

Instead, the Welshman said that this situation must be “properly addressed” in order to “understand why he had those views and made those comments”.

Given the UAR’s response, it makes sense why the 26-year-old has cause for concern. Though the statement said that a resolution will be reached in the next few days, Hewitt has shared on Twitter what course of action he believes should have been taken:

“If he has changed his views since then, explain what it was specifically that made him change those views. Explain why he held those views in the first place. If he can’t, educate him on those views so he can fully understand the severity of them. Until then, ban.”

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Being of Jamaican and Welsh heritage, Hewitt has been a significant figure in recent months in exposing the racism that is prevalent in rugby and society as a whole.

A first-person piece by the winger appeared in Guinness PRO14 programmes in October which sought to amplify the message of Rugby Against Racism. He wrote about what ‘black lives matter’ means to him, his experience of racism growing up and the positivity and progress that has come from speaking out and starting these conversations.

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Though their suspensions have been lifted, Matera, Petti and Socino have been excluded from the Pumas’ final Tri Nations match with Australia this Saturday.

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