Quinton De Kock has apologised to his South Africa teammates and the country back home after withdrawing from their T20 World Cup game against the West Indies because of his refusal to take the knee.
De Kock issued a lengthy statement on Thursday, two days after rebuffing a directive from Cricket South Africa which stated all players must take part in the anti-racism gesture for the rest of the tournament.
Quinton De Kock statement in full
“I would like to start by saying sorry to my team-mates, and the fans back home,” he said.
“I never ever wanted to make this a Quinton issue. I understand the importance of standing against racism and I also understand the responsibility of us as players to set an example.
“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, on our way to the game.
“I am deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger that I have caused. I was quiet on this very important issue until now. But I feel I have to explain myself a little bit.
“For those who don’t know, I come from a mixed race family. My half-sisters are Coloured and my step mom is Black. 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.
“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.
“I know I have an example to set. We were previously told we had the choice to do what we felt we wanted to do.
“I chose to keep my thoughs to myself, and though of the pride of playing for my family and my country.
“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.
“Those who have grown up with me and played with me, know what type of person I am. 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.”
This is a developing story. More to come.