South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock on Thursday apologized to his teammates and said that he will take a knee for the rest of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. The 32-year-old also reiterated his desire to play for South Africa. “If I take a knee to help educate others, and make others’ lives better, I am very happy to do so,” he said in a statement.
De Kock, who pulled out of South Africa’s Pool 1 match against West Indies in Dubai after Cricket South Africa, refused to take a knee after Cricket South Africa (CSA) directed the team to show solidarity with Black Lives Matter. A movement opposed to racism and equality for the remainder of the tournament.
Explaining his stand, de Kock said: “I would like to start by saying sorry to my teammates and fans back home.
I never wanted to make it a Quinton issue. I understand the importance of taking a stand against racism, and I also understand our responsibility as players to set an example.
If I take a knee and help educate others, and make others’ lives better, I am very happy to do so.
I didn’t mean to insult anyone by not playing against West Indies in any way, especially against the West Indies team itself. What some may not understand is that we got hit by it on the way to the game on Tuesday morning.
I am deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger I have caused.
Till now I was silent on this very important issue. But I guess I’ll have to explain myself a little.
For those who don’t know, I come from a mixed caste family. My step-sisters are colored and my step-mother is black. For me, black lives have mattered since I was born. Not just because there was an international movement going on.
The rights and equality of all people are 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 to do the way we were told.
Our conversation with the board last night, which was very emotional, I think we all have a better understanding of their intentions. I wish it had happened sooner, because what happened on match day could have been avoided.
I know I have an example to set. We were told earlier that we had the option of doing what we thought we wanted to do.
I decided to keep my thoughts to myself, and thought about the pride of playing for my family and my country.
I don’t understand why I had to prove it with one gesture, when I learn and love people from all walks of life every day. When you were told what to do, without much discussion, I felt it took away the meaning. If I were a racist, I could easily kneel down and lie, which is wrong and doesn’t lead to a better society.
Those who have grown up with me and played with me know what kind of person I am.
As a cricketer, I have been called upon for a lot of things. Douf. Idiot. Selfish. immature. But they didn’t get hurt. It hurts me a lot to be called a racist because of a misunderstanding.
This hurts my family. This hurts my pregnant wife.
I am not a racist. In the heart of my heart, I know. And I think those who know me know.
I know I’m not great with words, but I’ve tried my best to explain how sorry I am for doing this to myself.
I won’t lie, I was shocked that we were told on the way to an important match that there was one instruction we had to follow, a perceived “or else.” I don’t think I was alone.
Quinton de Kock’s statement pic.twitter.com/Vtje9yUCO6
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) October 28, 2021
We had camps. We had sessions. We had a zoom meeting. We know where we all stand. And he is together.
I love all my teammates, and I love nothing more than playing cricket for South Africa.
I think it would have been better for all concerned if we could have sorted it out before the tournament starts.
Then we could concentrate on our work, to win cricket matches for our country.
When we go to the World Cup there is always a drama. This is not right.
I just want to thank my teammates for their support, especially my captain Temba. People may not recognize him, but he is an amazing leader.”