Former Bulls, Sharks flank slams sports minister over 'Sale 8' criticism

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Renaldo Bothma in action for Harlequins during the Premiership Rugby match against Gloucester at Twickenham Stoop in London on 5 October 2019.
Renaldo Bothma in action for Harlequins during the Premiership Rugby match against Gloucester at Twickenham Stoop in London on 5 October 2019.
Steve Bardens/Getty Images
  • Renaldo Bothma has hit out at sports minister Nathi Mthethwa for criticising SA rugby players not taking a knee for Black Lives Matter.
  • The former Bulls and Sharks loose forward says the players are not racists.
  • He says he doesn't support BLM because of his Christian beliefs.


Former Bulls and Sharks loose forward Renaldo Bothma has hit out at sports minister Nathi Mthethwa for criticising SA rugby players refusing to kneel for the Black Lives Matter movement.

This comes after the minister said he was seeking answers from SA Rugby after South African players in England opted not to kneel in support of the movement.

Mthetwa said earlier in the week: "Upon seeing this‚ I interacted with SA Rugby through its president and I asked him to explain what's happening so that we are on the same wavelength.

"You must remember we were together at the World Cup in Japan as a country with some of the players and one thing which cannot be tolerated is when somebody is displaying racist behaviour and showing racist attitude.

"The president of SA Rugby did say that they are going to be having their own meeting and they will make their views known."

Bothma, a former Namibia captain who recently played for Harlequins in England, hit out at the minister on social media.

"I will never take a knee to anyone else than GOD! Where are all these ministers when we need to take a knee for farm murders in South Africa and take action against corruption? We all can decide what we want to do! NOBODY HAS ANY RIGHT TO FORCE SOMEONE TO GO ON THEIR KNEES!" he wrote on Twitter.

Bothma added that it was laughable for the minister to indicate that the players were racists.

"I have played with 90% of these players! And not one of them are racists! So go clarify what you want. You have no right to force someone to go on their knees."

The 30-year-old said he was not a supporter of the BLM movement for religious reasons.

"Just to clarify! This is about my Christian believes and for the rugby guys that have been criticized and questioned for not kneeling!!! So for those out there making this a racial thing again, GET OVER YOURSELF!!!

The players in the Premiership wore "Rugby Against Racism" T-shirts, but not many opted to take the knee in support of the BLM campaign.

At the Sale Sharks, where eight South Africans turned out against Harlequins, none of Jono Ross, Faf de Klerk, Coenie Oosthuizen, Akker van der Merwe, Dan du Preez, Robert du Preez, Lood de Jager or Jean-Luc du Preez opted to kneel.

They were joined by England centre, Manu Tuilagi, Wales prop, Willgriff John and Scotland wing Byron McGuigan, with only Sam Hill, Simon Hammersley, Tom Curry and Marland Yarde (all of England) opting to take the knee, as well as four of the seven substitutes.

In other matches, Gloucester's Ruan Ackerman and Worcester Warriors' Francois Venter also opted to remain standing.

Bothma added in an interview with Netwerk24 that Mthethwa was "uninformed".

"He doesn't know the guys personally and would for example also not know that Lood and his wife (Constance) adopted a black child (Elijah). But he jumps to the conclusion that they are racists. It's unfortunately become too convenient to portray white people as racists."

READ | Sports minister forcing players to kneel 'can never be tolerated', says trade union

- Compiled by Sport24 staff

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
loading... Live
England 21/0
West Indies 55/10
loading... Live
Cardiff Rugby 0
Dragons 0
loading... Live
Connacht 0
Ulster 0
loading... Live
England 21/0
West Indies 55/10
loading... Live
Southampton 2
Burnley 2
loading... Live
Leeds United 0
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
loading... Live
Everton 2
Watford 5
loading... Live
Crystal Palace 1
Newcastle United 1
loading... Live
Cape Town City 0
Lamontville Golden Arrows 0
Voting Booth
After the opening weekend of URC action, what did you make of the South African struggles?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
It exposed the quality of South African rugby...
38% - 2097 votes
There were positives to take
7% - 367 votes
We shouldn't read too much into one weekend
16% - 919 votes
It will take the SA sides time to adjust to the new competition
39% - 2191 votes
Vote