South African apologises for refusing to take the knee in cricket’s ICC T20 World Cup

Quinton De Kock has had a change of heart on taking the knee after issuing profuse apologies for refusing to do so ahead of South Africa’s T20 World Cup game against the West Indies.

South Africa's Quinton De Kock: Has had a change of heart on taking the knee after issuing profuse apologies for refusing to do so. Picture: PA

Two days after his dramatic late withdrawal from that contest, De Kock issued a lengthy statement explaining why he rebuffed a directive from Cricket South Africa stating all players must take part in the anti-racism gesture.

De Kock revealed matters relating to race are close to his heart as some of his family members are non-white but felt his rights were being impinged upon by CSA, with its order only disclosed to him on the morning of the game.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“I am deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger that I have caused,” he said. “If me taking a knee helps to educate others, and makes the lives of others better, I am more than happy to do so.

“I did not, in any way, mean to disrespect anyone by not playing against West Indies, especially the West Indian team themselves. Maybe some people don’t understand that we were just hit with this on Tuesday morning.

“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.”

De Kock’s absence in Dubai was initially put down to “personal reasons” before a subsequent statement from CSA confirmed its instruction was being ignored by the wicketkeeper-batter, overshadowing the Proteas’ eight-wicket victory.

Temba Bavuma, South Africa’s first black captain, disclosed after the match he and the team were “surprised and taken aback by the news” but added, “Quinton is an adult. He’s a man in his own shoes. We respect his decision.”

While some of his team-mates knelt or raised a fist ahead of their tournament opener against Australia on Saturday, De Kock did neither. He contributed just seven with the bat as the Proteas lost by five wickets.

CSA said before the match against the West Indies that all South Africa players must take a knee before matches for the rest of the tournament, and De Kock has since had clear-the-air talks with the board.