Proteas' Quinton de Kock apologises for refusing to follow CSA's knee directive

In a statement released on Thursday morning, Quinton de Kock apologised to his teammates and to supporters in South Africa, saying that he understood the importance of standing against racism and that he also understood the responsibility of the players setting an example.

FILE: South African wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock. Picture: SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Proteas wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock has issued an apology for refusing to take the knee following a directive by the Cricket South Africa board earlier this week.

De Kock made him unavailable for the ICC Twenty20 Super 12 match against the West Indies on Tuesday following the directive.

The directive was meant to create a unified show of support from the team in the fight against racism.

In a statement released on Thursday morning, De Kock apologised to his teammates and to supporters in South Africa, saying that he understood the importance of standing against racism and that he also understood the responsibility of the players setting an example.

He said that he never wanted to make it a "Quinton issue."

"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, on the way to a game. I am deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger that I have caused," De Kock said in the statement.

De Kock explained that he was not a racist for deciding not to follow the directive, saying that he did not understand why he had to show his commitment to the fight against racism with a gesture.

"I didn't understand why I had to prove it with a gesture, when I live and learn and love people from all walks of life every day. When you are told what to do, with no discussion, I felt like it takes away the meaning. 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 that had been shocked by the directive as the team had had meetings on the matter.

"I won't lie, I was shocked that we were told on the way to an important match that there was an instruction that we had to follow, with a perceived 'or else'. I don't think I was the only one. We had camps. We had sessions. We had zoom meetings. We know where we all stand. And that is together.

He said that he had an emotional discussion with the Cricket South Africa board on Wednesday night and that they all had a better understanding of their intentions as well. He added that it would have been better if the issues had been sorted out before the tournament.

"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 said that being called a racist had hurt him, his pregnant wife and his family deeply.

"I've been called a lot of things as a cricketer. Doff. Stupid. Selfish. Immature. 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."

The wicketkeeper-batsman also thanked his teammates and Proteas captain, Temba Bavuma, for their support, adding that he would love nothing better than to play for the team if they would have him.

"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."

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