Just as we are told there is ‘good cholesterol’ and there is ‘bad cholesterol’, recent events in sport seem to show there is also ‘good racism’ and ‘bad racism’. What is lamentable is the fact that the idea one can get some relief from the political and racial turmoil that troubles so many of us today by turning to sport is mostly not true.
The recent cricket test series between England and New Zealand is instructive and deeply distressing. It has been sullied by a media driven obsession with political correctness that is starting to make the Salem Witch Trials look rather tame. That was a very localised phenomenon during a time when the witch-hunters had limited range for their attacks, now the same type of people can survey a world flooded with information through social media and ancillary mediums and take their pick at their targets. Once identified, the culprit has no defence, he or she is summarily convicted and condemned.
In this case, Ollie Robinson, the English paceman who had barely finished celebrating his first cap for his country when the omnipotent High Priests and self-appointed guardians of universal virtue forced him to face the cameras, hang his head in shame and plead with the world for their forgiveness. He did so in vain; his pleas have been ignored and he’s been banished from the game for the foreseeable future. Adding to his woes, his captain Joe Root and the English management team, to all intents and purposes, have abandoned him.
His crime; a couple of posts made public over ten years ago which some people claim to be offended by. From what I can ascertain these were less than strident opinions on Islam and women which most normal people would find mildly amusing and forget about. As far as I know, these utterances were not criminal, but even if they were, what has become of the statute of limitations and the stated intention of law enforcement authorities around the world to facilitate the rehabilitation of ‘offenders’, particularly teenagers who may have erred in the exuberance of youth? Here’s a young sportsman who has worked hard and is on the cusp of an exciting cricketing career, a world of possibilities becoming a reality, when he is branded a racist and his future is torn asunder for all to see, and I presume celebrate.
On the other hand, for a startling example of real racism in progress, but the ‘good racism’ form because whites are the victims, look no further than the ‘Black Caps’ team which is about to face off against India for the title of ‘World Test Champions’, having just thrashed the recently ‘cleansed of bad racism’ English team.
The Kiwis ranks have been bolstered by the arrival on their shores of at least three players who probably wouldn’t be there were it not for a flourishing racially motivated agenda in their respective homelands which is not only allowed by the ICC and the responsible politicians in cricket-playing countries, it is subsidised and encouraged.
One of those, and the star of the series, who made his debut at Lords with a double-century and would have carried his bat had he not been run out, was South African outcast Devon Conway. He, I gather, was struggling to get a solid place in franchise cricket at home, so with a cap for his country a distant dream, he has found his future in another place.
Similar circumstances pertain to Pretoria-born New Zealand fast-bowler Neil Wagner who knocked on the door for international honours in South Africa but with a quota system in play he probably concluded his chances of a secure place in the national side were slim and packed his bags. The 2015 World Cup final would have confirmed his fears; there the in-form Kyle Abbott was left out on instructions from the top which saw an injured Vernon Philander reluctantly take the field in his place. The decision probably cost the Proteas victory.
All-rounder Colin de Grandhomme from Zimbabwe is an indirect casualty of the corrupt, politically charged cricket administration that has been supported financially and politically by the ICC, that picks teams based on race. He too has found a future in a country, unlike his own, where sporting ability, not skin colour, is a factor in team selection. These three ‘outcasts’ have all played a part of taking their adopted country to the pinnacle of cricket competition.
Against this backdrop it was heartening to see Quinton De Kock showing the gumption not seen from his team-mates and so lacking today in mustering an opposition to senseless movements sweeping the world and dividing races and nations. He refused to take the knee or thrust his fist in the air before the Test against the West Indies, electing to stand and hold his head high. He saved his signalling to appeal to his audience to consider the plight of the black rhino and the brave people in the killing fields risking their lives to save them. Then he went out and scored 141 runs which will have disappointed those who would like to be rid of him.
And so, with all this happening, I am more grateful than ever for the great game of golf. Although there are people trying to inject racial and political agendas into the sport, its very nature makes it almost impossible to deny players the chance to become champions based on their race, religion or political persuasion, and so we have had much to celebrate recently.
Following on from European Tour wins by Zimbabwe-born Dean Burmester and Christiaan Bezuidenhout, 21-year-old Garrick Higgo from Stellenbosch won a PGA title on only his second attempt. He is being hailed as a future ‘great’.
In team sports we will have to live with watching our best playing under foreign flags as ‘good racism’ has its way, but these guys remain South African and so we can cheer them on as ours.