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Quinton de Kock has apologised to his teammates and fans for withdrawing from South Africa’s T20 World Cup clash with the West Indies after refusing to take the knee.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) board on Tuesday instructed that players would be required to take the knee ahead of their remaining T20 World Cup matches.
🇿🇦 Cricket South Africa believes success both on the field and beyond the boundary will be guaranteed if all South Africans stand united to build a new innings based on the pillars of inclusivity, access and excellence.— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) October 26, 2021
➡️ Full statement: https://t.co/j9MDE1Ct1Z pic.twitter.com/WjRlZ8SmUG
De Kock, who has previously refused to take the knee, stunned his South Africa teammates and fans by pulling out of Tuesday’s T20 World Cup win.
The CSA recognised De Kock’s “personal decision […] not to ‘take the knee’” before the West Indies match, with South Africa captain Temba Bavuma saying the team “respect his decision” and his “convictions.”
De Kock has broken his silence and released a statement on Thursday, only two days after the CSA’s directive that players must take the knee for the remainder of the tournament.
“I would like to start by saying sorry to my teammates, and the fans back home,” he said.
“I never ever wanted to make this a Quinton issue. I understand the importance of standing against racism and I also understand the responsibility of us as players to set an example.
“If me taking a knee helps to educate others, and makes the lives of others better, I am more than happy to do so.”
Quinton de Kock statement 📝 pic.twitter.com/Vtje9yUCO6— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) October 28, 2021
The 28-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman touched on his family’s background and insisted that he felt the CSA took his “rights” away by enforcing players to take the knee.
“I am deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger that I have caused,” De Kock added.
“For those who don’t know, I come from a mixed-race family. For me, black lives have mattered since I was born. Not just because there was an international movement.
“The rights and equality of all people is 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 we had to do in the way that we were told.
“Since our chat with the board last night, which was very emotional, I think we all have a better understanding of their intentions as well. I wish this had happened sooner, because what happened on match day could have been avoided.”
De Kock claimed that he was hurt “deeply” by accusations that he was a racist.
“If I was racist, I could easily have taken the knee and lied, which is wrong and doesn’t build a better society,” he said.
“Those who have grown up with me and played with me, know what type of person I am.
“I’ve been called a lot of things as a cricketer but those didn’t hurt. Being called a racist because of a misunderstanding hurts me deeply. It hurts my family. It hurts my pregnant wife. I am not a racist. In my heart of hearts, I know that. And I think those who know me know that.”
De Kock paid tribute to Bavuma, who made history by becoming South Africa's first permanent black captain, and called him a “flipping amazing leader.”
The South African cricketer said: “I just want to thank my teammates for their support, especially my captain, Temba. People might not recognise, but he is a flipping amazing leader.
“If he and the team, and South Africa, will have me, I would love nothing more than to play cricket for my country again.”
South Africa lost their opening Super 12 clash of the T20 World Cup against Australia.
Bavuma’s men bounced back with a superb win over defending T20 World Cup champions West Indies on Tuesday.
South Africa will return to action on 30th October against Sri Lanka.
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