South African Players Given Choice Before Test Series
South Africa announced a modification to its policy on taking a knee before matches.
Express Their Support
Players will now be able to express their support for the worldwide fight for social justice in a variety of ways, but this is unlikely to prevent them from being targets of criticism and rage.
The practice was pioneered in cricket by England and the West Indies at the commencement of their Test series in July last year, and the West Indians have continued to kneel.
“We will do our usual – take the knee.” confirmed by captain Kraigg Brathwaite
— Telford Vice (@TelfordVice) June 9, 2021
South Africa’s Players
When South Africa’s players chose to raise their right fists once before the Test series against Sri Lanka began in Centurion on December 26, it divided views.
“It’s been quite a journey for our side with regards to this topic. We’ve given the players their right to perform whichever act or gesture they want to perform. So if players are comfortable with taking the knee, they may. If a player wants to use the previous gesture we had – raising the right fist – they’re also entitled to do that. And if players aren’t comfortable just yet they’ve got to stand to attention so we can still respect the campaign that’s rolling out.”
“We’ve come to West Indies to respect their campaign. We’ve also come to West Indies on the back of a lot of long chats in our squad, and it’s maybe taken a year to reach this point. We feel every player has a right – they’ve got a sense of belonging within this team – and we’ve come to the Caribbean not to disrespect the West Indies badge. I think we’ve taken a massive step.” Elgar said.
Because of its history of apartheid and ongoing difficulties with structural racism (it is the world’s most unequal society), South Africa is a focal point for attempts to attain social justice for all.