Quinton de Kock let South Africa, Proteas teammates down on biggest stage
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Dubai – Quinton de Kock did himself an injustice on Tuesday. More importantly he let his country and teammates down on the biggest stage of all.
It’s as simple as black and white. There are no grey areas in this matter unfortunately.
There is much to be said about Cricket SA's grandstanding decision to issue a directive on an explosive subject such as taking a knee during a World Cup – let alone hours before the team takes the field in a crucial match against the defending champions West Indies.
CSA have had 18 months to address issues related to racism and how the national men's team were dealing with it, but they waited for a World Cup with their entire world's eyes on the Proteas to flex their muscles.
But for all CSA's errors in the manner in which they have dealt with the issue, De Kock has now placed himself at the centre of a storm with his entire career at a crossroads.
As captain Temba Bavuma said at the post-match press conference "Quinton is an adult. He's a man in his own shoes."
De Kock cannot be sentenced though until his side of the story is heard. He has previously stated that not showing any form of support – whether that was taking a knee or raising a fist – for racial injustice "is my own personal opinion" and "I'll keep my reasons to myself."
That's simply not good enough anymore if De Kock harbours any ambitions to add to his 235 international caps for the Proteas.
Equally, he should not be naive to think he will simply be accepted into the fold at the Mumbai Indians with whom he enjoys a lucrative Indian Premier League deal should CSA take any major steps once they receive the report from the team management.
Equally, his £100 000 contract with the Southern Brave in England's Hundred competition will now be under scrutiny, particularly as the tournament places a major emphasis on inclusivity.
De Kock has always been excused for the simplistic manner in which he approaches his cricket – and life for that matter.
He has always been apolitical in his demeanour with the ability to cross racial barriers in the dressing room simply because he couldn't be bothered with the colour of someone's skin.
De Kock though is an ambassador for his country every time he walks on the field with the Proteas crest on his chest. He cannot simply avoid real life issues and retreat to the bush with his fishing rod when it all becomes too hard.
He represents a country where race-relations is an integral part of society based on a past where a white-minority Apartheid government implemented rules of discrimination towards the majority black population.
Dubai 2021 will forever be remembered as the day a South African cricketer refused to take a knee in support of a movement that raised awareness for black people. And De Kock will have to live with the consequences whatever they may be.