JOHANNESBURG – The Proteas men’s team is prepared to make a meaningful gesture regarding the Black Lives Matter movement following Cricket SA’s interim board voicing it’s concern about the players’ public silence on the issue.
The national side’s head coach Mark Boucher said on Thursday that the players have held “a lot of discussions,” since they’d entered the ‘bio bubble’ ahead of the Sri Lanka series and they were prepared to make a “meaningful gesture.”
The Interim Board of Directors last week expressed its concern about the lack of any tangible support from the Proteas for the Black Lives Matter movement. “The Interim Board felt that ‘we should embrace every aspect of our constitution’ fully as South Africans and show ‘the world that all of us are together in opposing racism at every turn,’” the board said in a statement last Friday. “The Board feels black lives matter has a particular meaning given South Africa’s apartheid past.”
The Proteas’s decision not to kneel before matches during the series with England, did not go down well with large swathes of the South African public. At the time, the players released a statement outlining how they were looking less at gestures and more at how to “live” in a way that outlined the injustices experienced by black people who’ve suffered racism.
“We appreciate that the board is not looking to compel the team into doing anything. One way or another, we will allow the team to go through their processes and allow the players to come up with something that is meaningful to them.,” said Boucher.
He added that the players would make public what they would do, before the start of play on Saturday, and at some stage wanted to engage with the interim board about the topic.
In choosing not to kneel, the Proteas were the only team among those who had resumed international cricket, not to make a public display of support for any social movement. The New Zealand and West Indies teams kneeled before the start of matches in the latter’s tour Down Under recently, while the Australian and Indian teams held a barefoot circle as a show of support for Aboriginal people.
Earlier this year the England and West Indies teams knelt before the start of their matches, as a show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Athletes in other sports, most notably in the English Premier League have continued to kneel before starting matches.