Dubai - Cricket South Africa have acknowledged their role in the Quinton de Kock "#Kneegate" saga by admitting "regret" to the timing of the directive sent to the Proteas team that they should take a collective knee ahead of the match against the West Indies.
CSA informed the Proteas team enroute to the Dubai International Stadium from Abu Dhabi five hours prior to the toss, wherafter De Kock decided to withdraw from the match.
"The CSA Board regrets that the timing of its directive earlier this week may have been unsettling for the players in the lead-up to the match against the West Indies," read the statement.
De Kock has since issued a heartfelt apology to his teammates and South African fans for the "hurt, confusion, and anger" he has caused by refusing to take the knee and that he will in future games comply with the directive.
However, he claimed that part of his initial decision to withdraw and not take the knee was due to being "shocked" at the timing of Cricket SA's mandate and nothing to do with him being a perceived racist.
"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," de Kock's statement said.
"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.
"We had camps. We had sessions. We had zoom meetings. We know where we all stand. And that is together. 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."
De Kock and the rest of the national team and management met with CSA Board chief Lawson Naidoo and two directors on Wednesday evening, where the Board clarified its position and engaged with the issues raised by the players, thereby reaching a concensus that all the Proteas have "agreed to align and unify" in regards to taking a knee ahead of future matches at this T20 World Cup here in the UAE.
"Cricket South Africa welcomes all of these developments. They confirm Cricket South Africa’s commitment to non-racism. Taking a united stance against racism is a moral issue, not a political issue," the statement said.
"CSA is fully supportive of the Protea Men’s team and its captain Temba Bavuma and looks forward to continued successes by the Proteas at the World Cup."