We stand with Ngidi on Black Lives Matter, say 31 ex-Proteas, ...

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We stand with Ngidi on Black Lives Matter, say 31 ex-Proteas, coaches

The highly experienced group says transformation must stop being used as a scapegoat for bad performances

Journalist
Lungi Ngidi has received support from former Proteas players and coaches.
NGIDI UP! Lungi Ngidi has received support from former Proteas players and coaches.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

A group of former Proteas‚ domestic players and coaches has come together in support of paceman Lungi Ngidi after his stance on the Black Lives Matter movement.

The 31 former Proteas and five senior coaches include Makhaya Ntini‚ Vernon Philander‚ Ashwell Prince‚ Paul Adams‚ JP Duminy‚ Charl Langeveldt and Herschelle Gibbs.

They said in a statement that Black Lives Matter provided an opportunity for Cricket SA (CSA) to make a serious statement with regards to racial problems.

They also said transformation must stop being used as a stick for bad performance for the national team.

“We see this as an opportunity for CSA to be unequivocal about its position and to make sure the problem is confronted‚ and we also invite our fellow white cricketers to join in this move to defend human dignity.

Why is transformation always rammed down the throats of national teams when they lose‚ but never when they win?

“We represent‚ or have represented‚ SA on merit.

“Far too many white South Africans cannot accept that black cricketers have proved‚ time without end‚ that they are good enough to play at the highest level‚” the statement said.

“We want to remind South Africans that as recently as 2017‚ we were told that a South African sister sport‚ rugby‚ was ‘dead’ – killed by ‘transformation’.

“But guess what? SA rugby won a Rugby World Cup last year.

“We cannot recall anyone suggesting that the victory was due to transformation.

“Why is transformation always rammed down the throats of national teams when they lose‚ but never when they win? Can there be equal treatment‚ please?”

The group of players carries significant weight, as they were standout performers in their time with the Proteas. All of them made their debuts after isolation in 1992.

Some of the players‚ such as Philander at the 2015 Cricket World Cup‚ and Justin Ontong during the disastrous 2001/02 tour to Australia‚ have been on the receiving end of transformation issues.

Some of the 31 players and coaches will have either played with or against Rudi Steyn‚ Pat Symcox‚ Brian McMillan and Boeta Dippenaar at some point of their careers.

The four former Proteas took umbrage with Ngidi’s Black Lives Matter stance‚ something that angered the group.

“We note too that the most outspoken criticism directed at Ngidi has come via former players such as Pat Symcox‚ Boeta Dippenaar‚ Rudi Steyn‚ Brian McMillan and others‚ and we urge that their views be challenged.

“We are not surprised at their comments‚” the statement said.

“Given SA’s well-known past‚ black cricketers have borne the brunt of subtle and overt racist behaviour for many years‚ including from some colleagues.

“Consequently‚ there is a need to understand how white privilege feeds into the perpetuation of these old attitudes and assumptions.

“Our attitude‚ mistakenly‚ we now believe‚ has always been to say: ‘These are teething problems‚ and that these will be resolved if we are patient.’

“But after almost three decades of cricket unity‚ the views expressed from one side of the racial divide are still very much part of our lives‚ and we now believe: ‘Teething problems cannot be allowed to continue for this long.’ ”

The former players and current coaches who signed the statement are: Makhaya Ntini‚ Vernon Philander‚ Ashwell Prince‚ Paul Adams‚ JP Duminy‚ Charl Langeveldt‚ Mfuneko Ngam‚ Robin Peterson‚ Aaron Phangiso‚ Justin Ontong‚ Herschelle Gibbs‚ Roger Telemachus‚ Wayne Parnell‚ Monde Zondeki‚ Omar Henry‚ Alfonso Thomas‚ Victor Mpitsang‚ Henry Davids‚ Loots Bosman‚ Henry Williams‚ Alviro Petersen‚ Thandi Tshabalala‚ Rory Kleinveldt‚ Thami Tsolekile‚ Dane Piedt‚ Garnett Kruger‚ Shafiek Abrahams‚ Lonwabo Tsotsobe‚ Eddie Leie‚ Imraan Khan‚ Ethy Mbhalati‚ Geoffrey Toyana‚ Wandile Gwavu‚ Rivash Gobind‚ Mandla Mashimbyi and Faiek Davids.