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‘I am not a racist, more than happy to take the knee’, says Quinton De Kock in emotional statement

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South Africa batsman Quinton de Kock had opted to not take the knee earlier on Tuesday

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‘I am not a racist, more than happy to take the knee’, says Quinton De Kock in emotional statement

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SportsCafe Desk

10/28/2021

South Africa opener Quinton de Kock, who opted against taking the knee and pulled back from his team's clash against West Indies on Tuesday has issued an emotional statement to clarify his stance. De Kock has said that he isn't a racist and have agreed to take the knee 'if it educates others'.

The 29-year-old Mumbai Indians star had pulled out of the West Indies clash hours before its start. The shocking decision from de Kock had come after Cricket South Africa's (CSA) directive which made it necessary for all players to take the knee ahead of team's matches at the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021 in the UAE and Oman. 

Apologising to his teammates, Quinton de Kock revealed that Black lives have always mattered to him as he has a Coloured step mom and half-sisters. 

Explaining his stand, de Kock said, “I would like to start by saying sorry to my teammates, and the fans back home.

I never ever wanted to make 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 a knee helps to educate others, and makes the lives of others better, I am more than happy to do so.

I did not, in any way, mean 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.

"I am deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger that I have caused. I was quiet on this very important issue until now. But I feel I have to explain myself a little bit.

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 have mattered since I was born. Not just because there was an international movement.

"The rights and equality of all people is more important than any individual. I was raised to understand that we all have rights, and they are important. I felt like my rights were taken away when I was told what we had to do in the way that we were told," he said. 

"Since our chat with the board last night, which was very emotional, I think we all have a better understanding of their intentions as well. I wish this had happened sooner, because what happened on match day could have been avoided.

"I know I have an example to set. We were previously told we had the choice to do what we felt we wanted to do.

"I chose to keep my thoughts to myself, and thought of the pride of playing for my family and my country." 

Dont' understand why I had to prove it with a gesture

Further, the Johannesburg-born said that he does not believe in proving his support for Black Lives Matter (BLM) with a gesture as he has 'lives, loves and learn' peple from all walks of life. 

Notably, the team had issued a statement on November 25 last year in which they said they had given themselves three options to show their support for the fight for the BLM - kneel, raise a fist, or stand to attention.

Before T20 World Cup 2021 against Australia, South African players were seen making various gestures. Some knelt and raised a fist, some stood with a raised fist and others stood at attention. However, de Kock has been a notable exception, opting to stand casually with his hands behind his back.

"I didn’t understand why I had to prove it with a gesture, when I live and learn and love people from all walks of life every day. When you are told what to do, with no discussion, I felt like it takes away the meaning. If I was racist, I could easily have taken the knee and lied, which is wrong and doesn’t build a better society.

"Those who have grown up with me and played with me, know what type of person I am.

"I’ve been called a lot of things as a cricketer. Doff. Stupid. Selfish. Immature. But those didn’t hurt. Being called a racist because of a misunderstanding hurts me deeply.

"It hurts my family. It hurts my pregnant wife.

"I am not a racist. In my heart of hearts, I know that. And I think those who know me know that.

"I know I’m not great with words, but I’ve tried my best to explain how truly sorry I am for making like this is about me.

"It is not. I won’t lie, I was shocked that we were told on the way to an important match that there was an instruction that we had to follow, with a perceived “or else.” I don’t think I was the only one.

"We had camps. We had sessions. We had zoom meetings. We know where we all stand. And that is together. I love every one of my teammates, and I love nothing more than playing cricket for South Africa. I think it would of been better for everyone concerned if we had sorted this out before the tournament started. Then we could have focused on our job, to win cricket matches for our country. There always seems to be a drama when we go to World Cups. That isn’t fair. I just want to thank my teammates for their support, especially my captain, Temba. People might not recognise, but he is a flipping amazing leader.”

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