- England’s cricketers will not take a knee in support of Black Lives Matter against the Proteas on Friday.
- The South Africans, too, are unlikely to take a knee.
- Both sides will wear black armbands in support of those impacted by gender-based violence and the coronavirus.
England will not be taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in the first T20 against the Proteas at Newlands on Friday.
The issue has gathered momentum in South Africa again this week with the Proteas set to play for the first time in nine months since the coronavirus pandemic resulted in a global lockdown in March.
Head coach Mark Boucher suggested on Monday that the Proteas, too, would likely not take a knee on Friday but that they would wear black armbands to stand against gender-based violence and in support of those who have been impacted by the coronavirus.
Boucher said that the decision had come as a result of a team discussion and, on Wednesday, an England team spokesperson confirmed to Sport24 that the visitors would not be taking a knee either.
“We won’t be taking a knee. We fully support diversity and we are focusing our energies and efforts around this as a team,” the spokesperson said.
“We took a knee during our international campaign this summer and continue to support what BLM stands for. We want to eradicate inequality across society.
“We will wear black armbands alongside the SA team.”
The BLM conversation has gained massive traction in international sport this year with, locally, South African cricket at the heart of it.
Back in July, all players and management involved in the 3TC product at SuperSport Park took a knee in support of the movement following a difficult period of introspection for Cricket South Africa (CSA) that had seen former players come forward with stories of exclusion in the system.
This followed Lungi Ngidi being attacked by members of the cricketing community for emphasising the need to discuss BLM in the Proteas set-up.
That emotional period resulted in Boucher and an extended Proteas group attending a five-day culture camp in Skukuza where issues around BLM were discussed at length.
On the back of that camp, Boucher says they are in a space now where they have embedded a culture of respect and inclusivity.
“It’s an ongoing thing for us,” Boucher said in his press conference this week.
“It’s not something that we have to continue to show. It’s something that you have to live. That is exactly what we are trying to doing our dressing room at the moment with a big squad.
“If guys who brought it up are happy with it, that’s great, but if they feel we have to do more, that will be a chat and that they are open to express their opinions.
“Our new value system is about respect, empathy and belonging and all of those lead to an environment where guys feel free to talk about these hard issues. They’ve got the support and respect and empathy from every other player.”