West Indian legend Michael Holding has slammed Australia’s cricketers for failing to take a significant stand against racism.
The champion fast bowler said the side had come up with a “lame” excuse to justify why it wouldn’t take a knee or perform a different protest as it resumed playing against England in the UK.
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Sports leagues in Australia and around the world showed their solidarity for the Black Lives Movement after the death of George Floyd in America saw the movement explode. AFL and NRL players linked arms and took a knee when their seasons resumed this year, soccer players and some F1 drivers did the same while Naomi Osaka is leading the fight against racism in the tennis world.
England and the West Indies took a knee before their Test matches in July but Australian captain Aaron Finch said ahead of his side’s white-ball tour of the UK it would not be following suit.
“The education around it is more important than the protest,” Finch said before the first T20. “I have spoken to (England captain) Eoin (Morgan) and we are not going to do specific gestures like it has happened in the past.
“For us, we are really proud to play a game where it is celebrated all around the world and anyone can play it. It doesn’t matter what race, what religion, what nationality you are from. Cricket is a game for everyone and I am really proud about that.”
There was no protest during the three-match T20 series — which England won 2-1 — and it
is expected to remain that way during the one-day series that begins tonight.
But Holding says the Aussies’ excuses don’t stand up.
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England and the West Indies took a stand against racism.Source:Getty Images
“Now that the West Indies team has gone home, that doesn’t mean that you still shouldn’t be respecting the message and exactly what it stands for,” Holding said.
“It is not a matter of which one is more important. Education is very important … but you can’t just say that education is the most important thing and do nothing else. We have still got to keep the awareness going.
“How long is that education going to take? This thing has been going on for centuries. Are you just going to educate everyone and change the world in a week or two? You have still got to keep the awareness going.
“He (Finch) is saying is that he’s glad that he is part of a sport where no one is barred from playing, irrespective of your race, your gender, your ethnicity, your religion.
“Well, I don’t know any sport where anyone is barred from playing because of anything at all.
“So that’s a pretty lame statement and what that says to me, actually, is that if the apartheid regime in South Africa had allowed multi-racial sport in South Africa and kept the apartheid laws then everything would have been OK.”
Holding, who commentates for Sky Sports in England, became highly emotional during live TV segments during the West Indies series when reflecting on his own experiences of racism. He broke down in tears as viewers were stunned by some of the most captivating TV cricket has ever witnessed.
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