Former West Indies captain Daren Sammy, who is also a two-time T20 World Cup-winning captain
has urged cricket’s governing bodies to treat racism more seriously to give it the same attention they give to upholding the integrity of the game.
Many athletes across the world have taken action against racism in many disciplines, as part of the Black Lives Matter movement after the brutal murder of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.
Sammy has been at the frontage of the movement in cricket and wants those next to him who run the game to do more too. “We’ve made the recommendations. You know racism is real. It is not something that we can hide,” Sammy declared from Trinidad, where he is playing in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). “So, I urge them (to give racism) the same emphasis they put on protecting the integrity of the game. Why not protect the integrity of human beings? “If you’re able to raise awareness in the game, where every person, every human being is treated equally, regardless of the colour of their skin, I think that is the way the world should be.”
Sammy, who will lead the St Lucia Zouks in the CPL final against Trinbago Knight Riders later today, often travels around the world with his former West Indies teammate Chris Gayle to play in numerous cricket tournaments as Twenty20 freelancers. Both have complained about having experienced racial abuse in the past. Former Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed was slapped with a four-match ban last year for a racist comment aimed at South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo, while England’s Black fast bowler Jofra Archer was insulted on social networks.
Nonetheless, England fused with West Indies in wearing “Black Lives Matter” logos on their shirts during their test series, and also took the knee as part of the symbol protests against racism typical of the Black Lives Matter movement, and now become viral. “It’s amazing to see the lack of conversation in the cricket circle from certain parts of the world when it comes to social injustice and racism and all these things,” Sammy declared.
“Yes, we saw West Indies played England, so it was bound to happen, the show, the support for Black Lives Matter. But what about the other boards? What about the other territories? I have not heard a statement from a few of the other boards.
“If you do care about the integrity of the game and don’t take a stance against racism, or social injustice against people of colour, then to me you’re not doing your job.” Sammy caused debate when he made a claim of racism against his former Sunrisers Hyderabad teammates over a Hindi nickname he was given when he was part of the Indian Premier League franchise from 2013-14.
The West Indies later accepted a former teammate’s apology and now hopes the issue can be used to educate other players on racial equality. “My focus now is to educate people on certain slurs that is inappropriate to people of colour,” added Sammy, who felt his T20-related travel had helped him realise the importance of the culture and different ethnic backgrounds of players across the world. “That’s where I will always use my voice to advocate change for the better.”