Quinton de Kock apologises after refusing to take the knee before T20 World Cup match

South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock has apologised after deciding not taking the knee prior to his side’s T20 World Cup clash against West Indies on Tuesday – and says he is “not a racist”.

Cricket South Africa issued a directive on the morning of the match which required players to take the knee before the game got underway.

It was then announced that de Kock had pulled out of the game for “personal reasons”. CSA later confirmed in a statement that he had decided not to take the knee.

South Africa captain Temba Bavuma said that the team were “surprised and taken aback” by the news of de Kock’s withdrawal and the circumstances surrounding it. He added that they “respect his decision”.

De Kock apologises for not taking the knee

De Kock has now spoken out for the first time since deciding not to take the knee. He has apologised to his team-mates and fans, and says he is now “more than happy” to take the knee in future.

He stated: “I would like to start by saying sorry to my teammates, and the fans back home. I never ever wanted to make this a Quinton issue. I understand the importance of standing against racism, and I also understand the responsibility of us as players to set an example.”

“If me taking a knee helps to educate others, and makes the lives of others better, I am more than happy to do so. I did not, in any way, mean to disrespect anyone by not playing against West Indies, especially the West Indian team themselves.”

“I am deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger that I have caused.”

Further down the statement, he went on to add: “The rights and equality of all people is more important than any individual. I was raised to understand that we all have rights, and they are important. I felt like my rights were taken away when I was told what we had to do in the way that we were told.”

“Since our chat with the board last night, which was very emotional. I think we all have a better understanding of their intentions as well. I wish this had happened sooner, because what happened on match day could have been avoided.”

“I know I have an example to set. We were previously told we had the choice to do what we felt we wanted to do.”

De Kock then said he was “shocked” that the CSA directive was issued on the morning of the match, and says he is “not a racist”.

“Being called racist because of a misunderstanding hurts me deeply,” he said.

“It hurts my family. It hurts my pregnant wife. I am not a racist. In my heart of hearts, I know that. And I think those who know me know that.”

“I know I’m not great with words, but I’ve tried my best to explain how truly sorry I am for making like this is about me. It is not.”

“I won’t lie, I was shocked that we were told on the way to an important match that was an instruction that we had to follow, with a perceived “or else”. I don’t think I was the only one. We had camps. We had sessions. We had zoom meetings. We know where we all stand. And that is together.”

“I love every one of my teammates, and I love nothing more than playing cricket for South Africa.”

Without de Kock in the XI, South Africa defeated West Indies by eight wickets to register their first victory of this year’s T20 World Cup. It is unclear whether the wicketkeeper will return to the side for their next game. They face Sri Lanka on Saturday.

Featured Image Credit: Getty