The Australian Test team responded to their critics with a forceful political statement in Perth.
In response to “too woke” criticism, the Australian and West Indian cricket teams have “taken a knee” in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of the first Test in Perth on Wednesday.
In the minutes before an irate ball was bowled, the players and umpires kneeled together, some raising their fists, in a strong and united protest highlighting racial inequities.
The Australian team has lately come under scrutiny as captain Pat Cummins questioned Cricket Australia’s decision to deal with non-sustainable brands like the team’s principal sponsor, Alinta Energy, and CA later parted relations with the power firm.
Cummins dropped Alinta commercials owing to the company’s carbon footprint but told reporters in October that he had not placed pressure on CA to cancel the relationship with Alinta, even though he believed players should have a say in which organizations they want to be affiliated with.
“It has always been a balance,” he said. “We have seen certain players make decisions based on religions, or certain foods they eat, where they won’t partner with specific partners.
“Every organization has a responsibility to do what’s right for the sport and what they think is right for the organization, and, I hope, society when it moves forward.
“It is a balance when you make decisions about who you are going to welcome into the cricket family.”
Cummins’ attitude sparked outrage from many political and corporate leaders, but he backed down yesterday and defended his image as the “awake” Australian captain.
“In this position, you’re always going to upset people,” he said.
“We’re cricket players, but you can’t leave your values at the door. People stand for different things.
“Taking a knee this week, we’re doing it out of respect for the West Indies, in support of equality.
“Anyone who says that’s a bad thing, I’m not too bothered about.”
However, Cummins also has his supporters: “If I hear one more ‘too woke’ comment I’ll (spew). Heaven help someone just being a decent person. Here’s a tip…if you call Pat Cummins “woke” you’re probably a tool.”