A perceived lack of respect from the Pumas for Diego Maradona may be behind the resurfacing of Pablo Matera's racist tweets from eight years ago.
Matera, lock Guido Petti and hooker Santiago Socino have been suspended after the emergence of racist and xenophobic tweets and texts from 2011 and 2012. Matera has also been stripped of the captaincy.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Pumas believe the tweets were dug up following criticism of their tribute to Maradona, the Argentinian soccer icon who passed away last Wednesday.
The Pumas opted to wear black armbands during last Saturday's match in Newcastle, but that gesture was overshadowed by All Blacks captain Sam Cane laying down a No 10 jersey with Maradona’s name on the back before his team performed the haka.
The Pumas were heavily criticised on social media, prompting Matera to issue a three-minute apology video alongside the entire Argentina squad from their hotel on Monday night.
'We know that the tribute we did for Diego caused disappointment, but we wanted to tell you that it was by no means our intention,' said Matera in the video. 'We did not want to stop apologising to them, we wanted to tell them that Diego is always present and is an important person for this team.'