Former West Indies pacer Michael Holding has lashed out at the England, Pakistan and Australian cricket team for not taking a knee in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement during their limited-overs series.
“Now that the West Indies team has gone home, that doesn’t mean that you still shouldn’t be respecting the message and what it stands for,” Holding told Sky Sports.
“Yes, (racism) is more acute in the United States than in most other places but people around the entire world took on the mantle of spreading the word and getting this message out that it is time for equality and time for equal justice.
“It was no longer just a black versus white thing…so for Pakistan and England not to then take that signal…neither team did it and the ECB came out with a pretty lame statement, as far as I am concerned,” he added.
England wore “Black Lives Matter” logo on their shirts during their Test series against the West Indies and took the knee to protest against racism, but have not done the same since then in subsequent series against Pakistan and Australia.
Informing that his team would not take a knee, Australia captain Aaron Finch had earlier said that “education is more important than the protest”.
“(Finch) is saying that he’s glad he is part of a sport where no one is barred from playing, irrespective of your race, your gender, your ethnicity, your religion,” Holding said disagreeing with Finch.
“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.
“I’m not here to try to force people to do what they do not want to do. If you think you do not need to sympathise with and recognise the movement, just say that. Don’t come up with lame excuses,” he added.
After a black civilian was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, United States of America, in May this year, massive anti-racism protests under the banner of ‘Black Lives Matter’ are taking place in several parts of the globe.
George Floyd, aged 46, was choked to death by officer Derek Chauvin. He held Floyd down with a knee on his neck though he repeatedly pleaded, “I can’t breathe,” and “please, I can’t breathe”.
To condemn the brutal action of the officer, protesters have made bending knees as a symbol of the current anti-racism movement.
The action has been prevalent in sports as well. NFL player Colin Kapernick had knelt during the national anthem, before one of the games in 2016. His action triggered a movement and black players across many teams had resorted to kneeling during the national anthem to protest against the police brutality and racism.