Proteas settle on 'meaningful gesture' to show united front against racism

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Mark Boucher (Gallo)
Mark Boucher (Gallo)

The Proteas have settled on a "meaningful gesture" to take a collective stand against racism and discrimination during their upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka. 

That was the message from head coach Mark Boucher on Thursday ahead of the Boxing Day Test at Centurion. 

Boucher was responding to questions on concerns that were raised recently by the current interim board, chaired by Judge Zak Yacoob, surrounding the Proteas' stance on the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in their T20 series against England. 

The Proteas, in a decision understood to have been taken by the entire squad, opted against taking a knee in support of BLM at the start of that series. 

A few weeks later, the interim board spoke out. 

"The Interim Board felt that we should embrace every aspect of our constitution fully as South Africans and show the world that all of us are together in opposing racism at every turn," it said in its statement.

"The Board feels Black Lives Matter has a particular meaning given South Africa’s apartheid past."

Yacoob acknowledged that he "could not compel" the team into any action, but he effectively encouraged the players to take a stand that showed their support of BLM. 

On December 26, the Proteas are once again unlikely to take a knee, but there will almost certainly be more action than what was seen ahead of the T20 series at the start of the month. 

"We appreciate that the board isn't looking to compel the team into doing anything, one way or another, and that they are happy for the players to go through their processes and come up with something meaningful to them," Boucher explained. 

"The team is more than happy to engage further with them on what they would like to discuss at a more appropriate time.

"We've had a lot of discussions since we've come into the bubble (Gauteng camp) on this, especially after what the board statement was, and I think the guys have come up with a meaningful gesture.

"That's something that the players will share with everyone."

This will be South Africa's first Test series since they went down 3-1 to England a year ago. 

Play on Saturday starts at 10:00.

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