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Argentina: Rugby Players Sentenced for Murder

    Argentina: Rugby Players Sentenced for Murder
    Last updated Feb 07, 2023
    Image credit: AFP [via Al Jazeera]

    Facts

    • A court in the Argentinean town of Dolores has found eight amateur rugby players — who are now between the ages of 21 and 23 —guilty of the 2020 killing of aspiring law student Fernando Báez Sosa.[1]
    • On Monday, Máximo Thomsen, Enzo Comelli, Matías Benicelli, Ciro Pertossi, and his brother Luciano Pertossi were convicted as co-perpetrators of homicide with premeditation and malice.[2]
    • Meanwhile, Ayrton Viollaz, Blas Cinalli, and Lucas Pertossi were condemned to 15 years in jail for their role in the crime. All eight had been held in pre-trial detention since Báez Sosa died in January 2020.[3]
    • This wraps up a widely covered four-week trial over a case that has shocked Argentina. The 18-year-old Báez Sosa was reportedly attacked outside a nightclub in the coastal resort city of Villa Gesell by the group of rugby players, who beat him to death before leaving to buy hamburgers.[4]
    • The eight attackers were all teammates at a small, provincial rugby club, a sport that is traditionally played and watched by a wealthy elite in Argentina.[5]
    • The killing of the only son of Paraguayan immigrants has sparked debate about racism, as the attackers reportedly used racist slurs against darker-skinned Báez Sosa during the assault.[1]

    Spin

    Left narrative

    The killing of Báez Sosa is a product of classism, racism, toxic masculinity, and violence that have long permeated Argentina's culture. Rugby's "herd mentality" and the normalization of cruelty also played a significant role. The debate should not be about whether the attackers are psychopaths, but rather about the society that has produced toxic conditions.

    Right narrative

    It's sad that a sport like a rugby is being exploited by some who espouse post-modern "woke" values to discuss virtue-signaling concepts such as "toxic masculinity." This assault was a tragedy and the focus should be on holding violent criminals accountable — not ideological grandstanding.

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