New Delhi: Saint Lucian cricketer Darren Sammy, who played for West Indies and is a former captain of the T20 World Cup winning team, has alleged being a victim of racism while playing for the Sunrisers Hyderabad during the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2013 and 2014.
He alleged being called ‘kalu’ (black) by his team members, but did not know then what it meant.
In a five-minute video, Sammy harks back to Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act episode — where he called out South Asian communities for racism and an obsession with fair skin — which he said made him realise ‘kalu’ is a racist slur and is not used “in a good way”.
Sammy took to Instagram on 8 June with a video and a message that read — “Knowledge is power. So recently I discovered a word that I was being called was not what it actually meant I (needed) some answers. So before I start calling out names I need these individuals to reach out and please tell me there’s another meaning to that word and when I was being called it, it was all in love.”
“I was angry after listening to him after he described a word that is used to describe black people. He said it is not used in a good way and it is degrading,” Sammy said in the video.
He then went on to say he was called the exact same word that Minhaj spoke about when he was playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2013-14. He also said at the time when he was being subjected to the racist jibe (‘kalu’), he did not know what it meant, and people laughed every time it was used.
“I will be messaging those people. You guys know who you are,” he added. “Let’s have a conversation.”
His video comes at a time when the #BlackLivesMatter movement has been gaining fierce momentum in the United States after protests have been raging for days over the death of an unarmed African-American man, George Flyod.
“I’ve had great memories in the dressing room. I have always wanted to build up the relationship of a team, not bring it down. I saw all of you guys as my brothers,” he said in the video.
He ended his video, saying: “I’ll be waiting to hear from you guys.”
Not aware of such things: Irfan Pathan
Sammy names no one in his video, but when he was playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2013 and 2014, he had shared the dressing room with Akshath Reddy, Biplab Samantray, Cameron White, Chris Lynn, Thisara Perer, Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma, Kumar Sangakkara, Nathan McCullum, Parthiv Patel, Shikhar Dhawan, Thalaivan Sargunam, Irfan Pathan and K.L. Rahul, among others.
Meanwhile, screenshots of bowler Ishant Sharma’s Instagram post calling Sammy ‘kalu’ have emerged ever since he posted the video.
Pathan, however, said he wasn’t “aware of such things”, but he did not rubbish claims of racism being rampant in the cricketing fraternity.
“I was there with him (Sammy) in 2014. I feel had this really happened, the matter would definitely have been discussed. So I’m not aware of such things as nothing was discussed in a larger way. But at the same time, we need to educate our people because I’ve seen them (racial jibes) in domestic cricket,” he said.
Pathan also highlighted how it is not just foreigners who are subjected to such behaviour, but even players from southern states with a dark complexion have been meted out the same treatment.
“Some of our cricketers from the south, especially, have faced that in the northern and western parts of the country, though I don’t want to name anyone. What happens is among the crowd, someone tries to act like a jester. It’s not because people are racist, but it’s like someone trying to be popular by saying something seemingly funny that amounts to crossing the line on certain occasions,” he added.
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