(REUTERS): Former West Indies cricketer Michael Holding has criticised England and Australian teams for not taking a knee in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement during their ongoing limited-over series.
“Now that the West Indies team has gone home, that doesn’t mean that you still shouldn’t be respecting the message and what it stands for,” Holding, who broke down in tears on live television, said while talking to an international sports channel.
England took the knee to protest against racism and wore ‘Black Lives Matter’ logos on their shirts during their Test series against West Indies, but refused to continue the practice in subsequent series against Pakistan and Australia.
“Yes, racism is more acute in the United States than in most other places but people around the world took on the mantle of spreading the word and getting this message out that it is time for equality and time for equal justice,” he added.
In this regard, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said that it was committed to long-term and sustainable change and had launched initiatives that focus on eliminating discrimination from all areas of cricket.
Australian captain Aaron Finch, before the start of the limited-overs series, had said that they will not be taking the knee in support of Black Lives Matter as he believed education was more important than protest.
Holding accused the ECB and Finch of offering a lame excuse for ending it at a time when many other sports teams, including England’s football team, will continue with the practice.
“The ECB [England and Wales Cricket Board] came out with a pretty lame statement as far as I’m concerned. I didn’t hear anything at all from Pakistan, neither the players, nor the board and now Australia come here and I see another lame statement from the Australia captain,” he remarked.
Referring to Finch’s statement, “Finch is saying that he’s glad he is part of a sport where no one is barred from playing. Well, I don’t know any sport where anyone is barred. So that’s a pretty lame statement. If you think you do not need to sympathise with and recognise the movement, just say that. Don’t come up with lame excuses.”