Cricket Australia have been accused of hanging national coach Justin Langer out to dry over the continued debate surrounding the sport’s response to the global Black Lives Matter protests.
Langer, and by extension Cricket Australia, have come under fire for not having a fixed stance on the issue after Langer said he was hoping to consult high-profile Indigenous personalities Adam Goodes and Stan Grant to educate himself and the team on the issue when asked about what the team would do to support the movement during the summer.
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“Whether it‘s taking a knee, we’ll come up with that in the next little bit. It’s certainly front of mind at the moment,” Langer said, when asked about it last week.
“Now we‘re working through talking to Aboriginal elders, talking to people, hopefully like Adam Goodes, Stan Grant.”
Veteran sports commentator and former netballer Liz Ellis, as well as former Australian cricket captain Mark Taylor, said it was ‘unfair’ of Langer to expect Indigenous Australians to educate the team on such a mainstream issue.
Australia to take a knee during the anthem?
"This is not something the coach should be involved in. That is a political decision that a board should make"
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“It‘s probably a decision for the players to be heavily involved in because they’re the ones who will have to own the decision if they decide to take a knee,” Ellis said on Channel 9 program Sports Sunday.
“I can see where Justin Langer is coming from and he‘s an all-round good bloke, but I was uncomfortable with him asking Adam Goodes in to share his story.
“You either make the decision to take a knee or you don‘t. You don‘t need to rely on an Indigenous person to educate you. Go and educate yourself.
“It‘s a players’ issue. The board can’t tell players to take a knee or not take a knee.
“To lean on someone like Adam Goodes who has already been through a lot in this space, I feel like that’s a bit unfair.”
Cricket Australia criticised over BLM uncertainty
Sporting codes around the world have made various symbolic gestures in support of protests against police brutality, specifically directed at minorities, since the death of Minnesota man George Floyd in May.
Athletes across football, the NBA, Formula One, the AFL and the NRL among various others have kneeled during national anthems as well as making over gestures acknowledging the protests.
Taylor said the onus was on players to ‘live accountable to their actions’, while fellow panellist Richard Freedman said since it was a political issue, it was Cricket Australia’s responsibility to lead the way.
“What is happening when the coach is out there saying he needs to get advice from Indigenous elders on whether the team should take a knee during the anthem,” Freedman said.
“Where is the board? That is a political argument. Where is the CEO? This is not something the coach should be involved in.
“That is a political decision the board should make.”
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