South African cricketer Quinton de Kock, days after he caused outrage on social media over his refusal to take the knee in support of global sport’s stance against racism, resurfaced with a statement.
Quinton de Kock addresses ‘BLM’ furore
The Proteas star broke the internet when, at the start of a World T20 clash against Australia, he blatantly refused to join his teammates in showing solidarity towards the Black Lives Matter movement.
The cricketer then caused a frenzy when in the 11th hour, he pulled out of the Proteas encounter against West Indies.
In his first official response to the backlash, De Kock unreservedly apologised for “making this a Quinton issue.”
“I understand the importance of standing against racism, and I also understand the responsibility of us as players to set an example. If me taking the knee helps to educate others, and makes the lives of others better, I am more than happy to do so,” he wrote.
De Kock also tried to clarify the reasons behind his decision to pull out of the match against West Indies. In his defence, he never meant to “disrespect anyone by not playing against West Indies, especially the West Indian team themselves.”
“Maybe some people don’t understand that we were just hit with this on Tuesday morning, on the way to a game,” the cricketer explained.
De Kock was referring to Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) decision to scrap its initial call to give players one of three choices in showing support to the BLM movement. Before the start of a game, players either had to go on one knee, stand with their fists raised, or stand at attention.
However, the optic of this was not taken well by fans and the cricket authority made it mandatory for players to take the knee.
“I felt like my rights were taken away when I was told what we had to do in the way that we were told,” De Kock explained.
‘Black lives have mattered since I was born’
The cricketer assured fans that he’s always advocated for equality and a non-racial South Africa.
“For those who don’t know, I come from a mixed race family. My half-sisters are coloured and my step-mom is black. For me, black lives mattered since I was born. Not just because there was an international movement,” he wrote.
De Kock confirmed that after an emotional conversation with CSA’s board, all parties reached a better understanding and that much could have been avoided if the matter was addressed directly, sooner.
“I’m not a racist. In my heart of hearts, I know that. And I think those who know me know that,” he added.
De Kock indicated his interest to return to the team and participate in the tough fixture against Sri Lanka on Saturday 30 October 2021.
“I just want to thank my teammates for their support, especially my captain, Temba [Bavuma]. People might not recognise, but he is a flipping amazing leader. If he and the team, and South Africa, will have me, I would love nothing more than to play cricket for my country again,” De Kock pleaded.
At the time this article was published, CSA had not announced the line-up to face Sri Lanka.