The recent killing of US citizen George Floyd has shaken the social structure in the country and sent reverberations across the globe, sparking protests against racial discrimination. #BlackLivesMatter protests have been attended and supported by sportspersons across multiple disciplines.
From the likes of Raheem Sterling (Football) and Anthony Joshua (Boxing) to Lebron James (Basketball) and Naomi Osaka (Tennis), stars have not shied away from voicing their opinions on racial discrimination.
However, with former West-Indian skipper Daren Sammy alleging racial abuse, have cricket starts done enough to support the movement and fight for the cause within their sport?
LeBron James has not only spoken out, but he also runs “Uninterrupted”, an athlete empowerment organisation.
In a recent interview hosted on Raheem Sterling’s YouTube channel, he highlighted racial discrimination football players face, citing the example of his 2018 teammates Phil Foden and Tosin Adarabioyo. He spoke about how both 17-years-olds were portrayed in a different light due to the colour of their skin.
Meghan Rapinoe also goes on to say, “Hopefully other players, especially white players, will see that even just saying it, lending support, retweeting something you said or saying something of their own, they can just help so much.”
One of the most powerful images from a recent football match was of Dutch players Georginio Wijnaldum and Frankie De Jong when they decided to take a stand against racism as they celebrated a goal.
Serena Williams has been vocal not only regarding racial discrimination but over multiple social issues. She has been an advocate for equality amongst all. Williams posted a strong message on her Instagram to spread awareness about how black people face discrimination in daily life.
Amongst the Boxing community, not only has Anthony Joshua attended protests he has also actively spoken and spread awareness about the discrimination he faced. One of his fierce rivals Deonta Wilder who has also spoken out saying, “It isn’t about Blacks Vs Whites, It’s about Blacks Vs Racism”.
These are not the only sports from which athletes have spoken out. There are hundreds more from every sport.
Where are the Cricketing Voices?
With strong voices in the world of sports speaking, it is appalling to hear the revelations made by West Indian cricketer Daren Sammy. His allegations about Sunrisers Hyderabad teammates racially abusing him have been met with a deafening silence from the cricketing community.
How is it that that strong voices from the world of cricket are choosing to maintain silence on the issue? The captain of an International team was racially abused in the biggest festival of cricket! There are images that clearly show who was behind the abuse. How is it that icons like Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Joe Root and many others who are part of the IPL and draw admiration from audiences, have nothing to say? Why does it seem that global cricket, unlike other sports, is lacking a voice of morality, especially when the incident has occurred in their sport?
How has this incident not been acknowledged by any cricketing body? The gentleman’s sport has failed to show support to one of their own. Having taken place in India, it is crucial that the biggest names in our country, speak up. It is necessary for the role-models of Indian cricket to recognise and promote activities that ensure racial slurs are removed from the sport. This is important especially for the development of the younger players.
With the likes of Meghan Rapinoe, Lebron James and Anthony Joshua and others, who have not only spoken up but actively worked towards ending discrimination within their disciplines. How and when can we expect cricketers to do the same?