The players took the knee in all three test matches in July before England became the first UK professional team to stop the gesture, dropping it for the Pakistani series. England then stopped wearing a Black Lives Matter logo, designed for matches in the West Indies.
Holding also told Sky Sports that Australian captain Aaron Finch was unconvincing in his argument last week not to take a knee and that politics shouldn’t be an excuse for ignoring the principles of the movement. .
Finch had said: “The education around her is more important than the protest. For us, we are really proud to play a game where it is celebrated all over the world and everyone can play it. It doesn’t matter what race, religion, nationality you are. Cricket is a game for everyone and I’m really proud of it.
The strong and universal message of the summer and the ongoing protests first found its way into the sport with TV companies, leagues and sponsors voraciously embracing the BLM movement. However, when ideas about a fundamental change in governance and society were broadcast, these messages seemed to have frightened some corporate institutions. It was confirmed on Thursday that the Premier League will let go of the BLM message and that teams will instead wear the slogan: ‘No room for racism’ on their shirts.
“I don’t care about the politics behind Black Lives Matter. I care about these three words: black lives matter. It is time for the world to accept that black lives matter and move towards this agreement and awareness, ”Holding said.
“When Pakistan and England failed to make that signal, the ECB made a lame statement. I haven’t heard anything from Pakistan. Now Australia has come here and issued a lame statement from the captain.
“He said he and the English captain had spoken. They decided not to take a knee. All he says is that he’s happy to be a part of a sport that no one is banned from playing because of your race, gender, ethnicity and religion. If you don’t want to recognize the move, say so and don’t come up with lame excuses. I know the excuses and the reasons are a bit fragile. They have to come up with something better than that.
“What Aaron Finch’s comments told me is that as long as the sport is multiracial, it’s fine. So if the apartheid regime in South Africa had allowed multiracial sport but kept apartheid laws, then would everything have been OK? No, it wouldn’t have been.
“Education is important, but there is nothing else you can do. You have to maintain awareness. Someone sees a person kneeling and asks why. He maintains it and continues. The England football team continued to do so. All over the world people are doing it. So why did the cricket team stop? I cannot accept any shaky excuse.
“I think people need to continue to recognize that things need to change. You can’t do something for a week or two and think, “OK, I’ve done my part. If that’s your attitude, don’t bother at all.
Holding gave a moving interview over the summer about racing issues and his own heartbreaking experiences during a sparkling career. His comments are all the more relevant in the wake of recent allegations of racism by Azeem Rafiq during his stay in Yorkshire.
The ECB released a statement Thursday evening, responding directly to Holding’s comments. “As an organization we have great respect for the views of Sky Sports commentator and former Caribbean international Michael Holding. Many cricket teams, both national and international, took the knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement for their opening matches, with the men’s test team continuing throughout the series with the West Indies.
“Our response to the Black Lives Matter debate has been to consider the issue alongside the whole space of inclusion and diversity, to ensure that long-term and lasting change occurs for all communities that are not. treated equally. We remain committed to this philosophy.
“England’s male and female players all remain committed to using their reach and influence to continue to promote inclusion and diversity in perpetuity, for the betterment of cricket and the sport. We understand the importance of symbolism and its power to keep an issue high on the agenda. Our goal is to ensure both reach and change. “