Ashwell Prince joins BLM debate with disputed claim - NEWS SENTRY


Post Top Ad

Responsive Ads Here

Saturday 11 July 2020

Ashwell Prince joins BLM debate with disputed claim

Web Sports : Ashwell Prince claims South Africa's team leadership brushed aside reports of spectator racism during a tour to Australia. Contemporary reports say otherwise, but other parts of Prince's social media broadside will only add fuel to a fire that has burned steadily brighter with arguments by current and former South African players for and against supporting the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

Prince, who played 66 Tests and 52 ODIs from February 2002 to December 2011, tweeted on Friday: "[In] Australia [in] 2005 a number of us encountered racist incidents on the boundary. When we brought this to the attention of the leadership at lunch we were told, 'Ah, it's only some people in the crowd, not the majority. Let's get back out there.'"

Graeme Smith captained that team and Mickey Arthur was the coach. The black and brown players in the squad were Makhaya Ntini, Prince, Herschelle Gibbs, Garnett Kruger and Charl Langeveldt.

Contacted in Colombo on Friday (July 10), Arthur, now Sri Lanka's coach, recalled an incident during the first Test in Perth when Ntini reported abuse after fielding near the boundary, as did Kruger, who was targetted when he carried drinks to his teammates.

South Africa's management complained to match referee Chris Broad, and Cricket Australia (CA) arranged additional security on the boundary. Arthur said the entire team were disturbed by the episode and denied that it had been taken lightly.

A report at the time in the Melbourne Age said, "The incident prompted the ICC to reiterate its zero-tolerance stance against racism. CA vowed that the policy would be enforced and spectators ejected should such behaviour be repeated at the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne or the third Test in Sydney."

The article said Prince, Shaun Pollock and Justin Kemp were among the players who objected to the abuse, which included the word "kaffir" - the most serious racist slur used by white South Africans, many of whom have moved to Perth. Ntini was quoted as saying it was "absolutely uncalled for" and "unbearable", and that, "As a South African we are united now; we are singing one song and we play sport with one heart."

That has never been the case, according to Prince's thread of 10 hard-hitting tweets on Friday. He painted a picture of a country struggling to escape the grip of white supremacy, which has also tainted cricket. "The system is broken and has been for some time, both in society and in sport," Prince wrote.

South Africa's tour of India in November 1991 ended 21 years of their isolation from world cricket because of apartheid. But the team that took the field in the three ODIs was as white as those that purported to represent the country when it was illegal for blacks and whites to play sport together.

"And so ever since day one this narrative [that blacks don't play cricket] had to be driven and protected, and any form of transformation has been met with resistance," Prince wrote. "Real authentic change, inclusivity, non-racialism has never been able to establish itself."

On Monday, Lungi Ngidi expressed his support for BLM only to be slammed by white former players. Cricket South Africa at first hesitated to share Ngidi's stance unequivocally, only doing so on Thursday after the explosive difference of opinion between the fast bowler and the former players had been widely reported.

In a release on Friday the South African Cricketers' Association came out in strong support of Ngidi, with chief executive Andrew Breetzke quoted as saying, "Freedom of expression is an enabling right that all South Africans support. We must, therefore, respect Lungi, as a sporting role model, when he exercises his freedom of expression on the important matter of racial discrimination. To subject him to unfair criticism is to undermine his right."

Push will come to shove on July 18, when the Solidarity Cup in Centurion will herald cricket's first appearance in South Africa since the start of the coronavirus lockdown in March. Prominent messaging in favour of BLM will be expected by many, but dreaded by others. For still others, the time for mere gestures is long gone.

No comments:

Post a Comment