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Proteas don’t give a damn about Black Lives

Mark Keohane.

Mark Keohane.

Published Dec 6, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - Black Lives Matter: It isn’t a theme, a moment, an insight or a revelation. It is a reality because Black Lives Matter just like every life should matter.

But in the context of South African cricket, black lives have never mattered.

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The Proteas had the most wonderful opportunity to make a statement to South Africa and the world that black lives do indeed matter.

The Proteas, the symbol of cricketing excellence in South Africa, had the chance to speak to their playing and supporter demographic to say ‘we know your story, we hear your story and we want to share your story.’

There are 60 million South Africans, and white South Africa makes up less than four million of those South Africans.

Yet, no Proteas cricketer, regardless of culture, colour or religion, took the knee against England to acknowledge why black lives matter.

The concept of ‘Black Lives Matter’ apparently offends whites, and it offends the white hierarchy within South African cricket. Which, in itself, is disgusting.

I am mixed race, which means I can’t speak on behalf of black South Africa because I am not black South Africa.

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But, in my profession and in my life, I do know the principle of equality, justice and the acknowledgement of what is right, what is wrong and what is blatantly just prejudiced.

How the hell did Cricket South Africa’s leadership, in administration and on the field, not get it right when it comes to #BlackLivesMatter?

Taking the knee is not an individual choice when you represent the collective of your national team and the national team’s administration and playing base.

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It is a collective and I don’t see how every cricketer in South Africa could take the knee a few months ago at the resumption of the domestic season, but when the eyes of the world were on the Proteas in the T20 series against England, there was not one taking of the knee.

Faf du Plessis, the senior statesman in South African cricket, a few months ago, justified taking the knee domestically by saying the issue was an either or.

He was quoted as saying you either take the knee or you don’t because there is no middle ground. You simply have to have an opinion.

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Du Plessis took the knee a few months ago, along with all other South African cricketers domestically.

Du Plessis, a player who leads on every front in this country, stood up and led.

Amen Faf.

Then England arrived and no player stood up nationally, Du Plessis included.

The Proteas lost the T20 series 3-0 to England.

But in my eyes, they lost so much more before a ball was bowled in the first international.

It is one thing to tell your mate what you think; it is quite another to show it.

And the Proteas showed the South African public nothing.

They want 50-million black South Africans to support them, but in the biggest moment, they bowed to four million whites whose only talk is of wanting to move to Australia.

@mark_keohane

IOL Sport

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