England and Wales Cricket Board vows changes to address racism in cricket
Last Updated: 14/06/20 10:21am
The ECB has acknowledged that cricket is not immune to systemic racism and says it will address the issue and try to bring "meaningful and long-term change" to the game.
Athletes across a range of sports have spoken out about racism after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on May 25 after a white policeman knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis.
"We have listened carefully to those who have spoken out in recent weeks about their experiences of being black in cricket, sport and society," the ECB said in a statement. "We admire them for being vocal on this crucial topic.
"We know that systemic racism spans institutions and sectors across the country and we know that our sport is not immune. We truly believe that cricket is a game for everyone but understand that sadly, barriers to its enjoyment exist for many communities."
Former England batsman Michael Carberry said cricket was "rife with racism" while fast bowler James Anderson said the England team will consider a joint anti-racism protest with West Indies during their three-Test series next month.
The ECB said they had made progress in bringing the game to more people and that they would "break down barriers and reform our structures".
"We will now work to engage community leaders and black influencers within cricket so that we can review and evolve our existing inclusion and diversity work and specifically address the issues raised by the black community," it added.
"From there, it is our overall desire to create demonstrable action, in order to deliver meaningful and long-term change that permeates every layer of the game."
Ahead of their Test series against England, West Indies skipper Jason Holder said his players have yet to decide how to display a 'show of solidarity' in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, while England bowler Anderson says the matter needs to be talked through thoroughly before the first Test begins on July 8 to make the strongest possible stand against racism.
"The last couple of weeks has really made people think," Anderson said. "From our point of view as an England team, I think we do need to sit down and talk about it.
"We need to educate ourselves about what's going on and make a decision that everyone is comfortable with. But I'm sure we'll be having a similar chat to what the West Indies will have."
Asked by Sky Sports News' James Cole if he would take a knee in support of his team-mates if they wanted to, Anderson said: "Absolutely; I think it's something that we'd have to do as a team. We'd have to support each other in that.
"That's the whole point about sitting down and having a chat about it. We should do it as a team. We should be there for each other, support each other, so we'll see what comes out of those chats."
Monty Panesar believes England should initiate a minute's silence ahead of the first Test at the Ageas Bowl in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Panesar said England should adopt a similar approach to Ajax and Heracles Almelo, who stood still for the first minute of their Eredivisie match in November after a player from fellow Dutch side Excelsior was subjected to racist abuse.
He feels England could have done that after seamer Jofra Archer was racially abused during this winter's tour of New Zealand.
"What I felt the England team should have done when Archer was racially abused is had a one minute's silence in the next Test match," former England spinner Panesar said.
"I don't think cricket faces racism as strongly as football does but I thought that could have been that opportunity. Ajax did it, saying we are not going to play football if there is racism.
"So, at the start of this Test match, it is a great opportunity for a one minute's silence and to say we are not going to play if there is racism in our society. I think it would be a brilliant example. Sport plays a part in spreading strong messages."