Racism is a hot topic in the world right now as parts of the world are being disturbed by violent protests and calls to end the inhumane act. Several sports figures and organizations also stood to support the demands against discrimination on the basis of origin and color of people as the sporting world is not exempted to it. Here are some of the notable acts of racism in the cricket world:
Basil D’Oliveira and the apartheid regime
South Africa-born Basil D’Oliveira, the brilliant all-rounder had become a top player in England until John Vorster’s government had different ideas about the ‘coloured’ cricketer that prompted a crisis that shook apartheid. He was left out of the England squad to tour South Africa under pressure from that country’s white minority government.
The government’s decision sparked rage from MPs and resignations from the MCC. The “D’Oliveira affair” had exposed South Africa to the world as a racist state that led to the country being banned in sporting major sporting events for decades. The tour was canceled and South Africa was left in the sporting wilderness from 1970-1991 until the historic day of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.
Tony Greig and his “grovel” remarks against West Indies
In 1976, England captain Tony Greig caused huge controversy following his alleged racist remarks intended to make the West Indies cricketers “grovel”. During that time, apartheid was a prominent issue and Greig was a white South African. “You must remember that the West Indians… if they’re down, they grovel, and I intend… to make them grovel,” Greig said that sparks outcry from public.
The word “grovel” had sinister connotations for the West Indies people, many of whom had slave ancestors. Despite the controversy, Tony Greig, who has died aged 66, was considered as one of cricket’s pioneers and innovators. Many people also remember Greig for his association with World Series Cricket in the late 1970s.
Dean Jones “terrorist” remarks to Amla
In a live TV during the fourth day’s play between Sri Lanka and South Africa in Colombo, Former Australia batsman Dean Jones turned TV commentator, drew flak with his comments against Hashim Amla, a devout Muslim. “The terrorist has got another wicket,” Jones said when Amla took the catch to dismiss Kumar Sangakkara. Jones was quickly sacked by the broadcaster following the incident.
Jones was spotted at Colombo airport shortly after Cricket South Africa’s chief executive expressed his dismay with the remarks. In an interview, Jones admitted that his remarks are “silly and completely insensitive” and apologized to what happened. “I am truly sorry to have caused offence to anybody and the last thing I intended was to be disrespectful,” he said.