30 ex-South Africa cricketers issue statement supporting Ngidi over Black Lives Matter movement

Tags: South Africa, racism

Published on: Jul 15, 2020

As many as 30 former South African cricketers, including prominent names like Makhaya Ntini, Herschelle Gibbs and Vernon Philander, have given their backing to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, claiming that racism is still very much a part of cricket in the nation.

Issuing a statement, the ex-cricketers also expressed their support to South Africa pacer Lungi Ngidi, who was criticised by the likes of Pat Symcox and Boeta Dippenaar for backing the BLM campaign. Apart from Ntini, Gibbs and Philander, Ashwell Prince, JP Duminy and Paul Adams also signed the statement.

“We commend Lungi Ngidi for supporting Black Lives Matter - and we’d like to add our support for it too. We note the criticism aimed at Lungi for expressing his views and we hope that Cricket South Africa (CSA), together with fellow cricketers - both present and past - will come out strongly in support of BLM,” read the statement according to a report in ‘Sport24’.

“We note too that the most outspoken criticism directed at Ngidi has come via former players such as Pat Symcox, Boeta Dippenaar, Rudi Steyn, Brian McMillan and others, and we urge that their views be challenged,” the statement added.

Dippenar hit back at Ngidi by stating that “all lives matter”, and that the fast bowler should also speak up against the death of white farmers in South Africa. The statement said that the views of ex-players like Dippenar weren’t surprising.

“Given South Africa’s well-known past, black cricketers have borne the brunt of subtle and overt racist behaviour for many years, including from some colleagues. There is a need to understand how white privilege feeds into the perpetuation of these old attitudes and assumptions,” the statement further read.

“Our attitude, mistakenly, we now believe, has always been to say: ‘These are teething problems, and that these will be resolved if we are patient’. “But after almost three decades of cricket unity, the views expressed from one side of the racial divide are still very much part of our lives, and we now believe: ‘Teething problems cannot be allowed to continue for this long’,” the cricketers added in the joint statement.

Racism has been the topic of global debate ever since the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in the USA. The West Indian team backed the movement by wearing Black Lives Matter emblem on their collars during the first Test against England at Southampton.

--By A Cricket Correspondent

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