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Mark Boucher’s white teammates allowed him to become a scapegoat

Mark Boucher, coach of South Africa during the 2021 KFC T20 match against Pakistan at Wanderers Stadium,Johannesburg, on 12 April 2021. Picture: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Mark Boucher, coach of South Africa during the 2021 KFC T20 match against Pakistan at Wanderers Stadium,Johannesburg, on 12 April 2021. Picture: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Published May 11, 2022

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Cape Town - Mark Boucher is close to a broken man after the ordeal he has endured over the past 12 months, which is now “finalised and closed” after Cricket South Africa dropped all charges against him on Tuesday.

It has been a tumultuous period that saw Boucher and his family endure “considerable anguish”.

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It would be entirely understandable that Boucher would hold Cricket South Africa – his employers – in contempt for orchestrating a virtual witch-hunt to have him dismissed from his post as Proteas Men’s coach.

The fact that the “gross misconduct” charges were based on allegations of racism would have incensed Boucher even more, particularly after he was the sole white former national men’s player to issue a personal apology when his black former teammate Paul Adams revealed at the Social Justice and Nation Building hearings that he was referred to as a “brown sh*t” in team songs.

ALSO READ: It will be hard for Mark Boucher to trust CSA again, but the SJN still provided much value

Even though Adams stated Boucher “was part of a broader group” that sang the song, the spotlight remained solely on the former national wicket-keeper.

And it’s to Boucher’s credit that he unreservedly re-emphasised his previous apology to Adams in his statement on Tuesday, saying: “I stand by my apology to Paul given during the SJN process for the hurt he felt during his time as a Proteas player.

“As I stated in my affidavit to the SJN process, some of the things that were said and done in those days were totally inappropriate and unacceptable, and in retrospect, understandably offensive.”

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I’ve said this before, and I’m reiterating it here: it is often overlooked that Boucher’s public apology has been the only one forthcoming from the group of players that had made reference to Adams in such a derogatory manner.

I hope that once the dark clouds have lifted that Boucher realises that it’s not only Cricket SA that have let him down, but his white former teammates have left his exposed carcass to be feasted upon by the vultures of social media.

The timeline of the song dates back to the late 1990s and early 2000s. Boucher was just 20-years-old when he made his Proteas Test debut in 1997.

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He was a mere rookie, alongside Adams – who was only still only 19, and who would merely have gone along with the theme set by the seniors within the team.

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As Adams also said: “I was young and naïve at the time, trying to fit in and represent my country as best I could.” Much like Boucher was …

Then-Proteas captain Hansie Cronje died in 2002, and therefore obviously cannot be held accountable. But cricket has always been a game played by 11 players, and more within a travelling squad.

And all of Boucher’s former white teammates have simply sat back and allowed him to be made the scapegoat for a systemic racist environment they had all been a part of. It is they who are truly responsible for Boucher having suffered “considerable hurt and anguish” over the last year.

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