The ongoing ICC T20 World Cup saw a controversy during its Super 12 round. A ‘Group A’ fixture between the Westindies and South Africa raised questions when the spectators noticed the absence of Quinton de Kock. De Kock has been South Africa’s leading wicketkeeper bat and a former captain too. Having lost the first match against Australia, South Africa needed to win this match at any cost. Quinton’s absence in such an important match made absolutely ‘no sense.’
THE BLM ACTIVISM
Press revealed that Quinton de Kock was under-fire by the South African cricket board for refusing to take a knee against the Black lives matter (BLM) movement before the start of the match. Since the genocide in America a few months ago, it has been a practice before cricket matches to acknowledge the BLM movement. This movement is special to the Westindies, and Quinton’s refusal to take a knee against them raised question marks. South African cricket team has had been a target of racism accusations in the past, and their team has a specified ‘black player’ quota. This act by the South African wicketkeeper was targeting the Westindian emotions and contradicting some of his teammates.
Reports state Quinton de Kock was against the tagline ‘Black Lives Matter. He, however, had a point that ‘All lives matter. Moreover, he was against being forced to take the knee, which is against the freedom of action. The South African cricket board had a word with him regarding the sensitive matter, which changed his perception. Quinton regarded his refusal as a misunderstanding and agreed to take a knee in the next matches. He released a statement in which he said that if his act helps educate others, he is more than happy to do so. Quinton played the match in South Africa’s next fixture against Srilanka and took the knee against racism.
Following is Quinton de Kock’s statement, released by the South African Cricket Board.
“Since our chat with the board last night, which was very emotional, I think we all have a better understanding of their intentions as well. I wish this had happened sooner, because what happened on match day could have been avoided.
“I know I have an example to set. We were previously told we had the choice to do what we felt we wanted to do. I chose to keep my thoughts to myself, and thought of the pride of playing for my family and my country.
“I didn’t understand why I had to prove it with a gesture, when I live and learn and love people from all walks of life every day. When you are told what to do, with no discussion, I felt like it takes away the meaning. If I was racist, I could easily have taken the knee and lied, which is wrong and doesn’t build a better society.
“Those who have grown up with me and played with me, know what type of person I am.
“I’ve been called a lot of things as a cricketer. Doff. Stupid. Selfish. Immature. But those didn’t hurt. Being called a racist because of a misunderstanding hurts me deeply. It hurts my family. It hurts my pregnant wife.
“I am not a racist. In my heart of hearts, I know that. And I think those who know me know that.
“I know I’m not great with words, but I’ve tried my best to explain how truly sorry I am for making like this is about me. It is not.
“I won’t lie, I was shocked that we were told on the way to an important match that there was an instruction that we had to follow, with a perceived “or else.”
“I don’t think I was the only one. We had camps. We had sessions. We had zoom meetings. We know where we all stand. And that is together.
“I love every one of my teammates, and I love nothing more than playing cricket for South Africa.
“I think it would of been better for everyone concerned if we had sorted this out before the tournament started. Then we could have focused on our job, to win cricket matches for our country.
“There always seems to be a drama when we go to World Cups. That isn’t fair.
“I just want to thank my teammates for their support, especially my captain, Temba. People might not recognise, but he is a flipping amazing leader.
“If he and the team, and South Africa, will have me, I would love nothing more than to play cricket for my country again.”
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