Quinton de Kock has apologized after his decision to withdraw from South Africa’s second T20 World Cup game against the West Indies after objecting to being forced to “take a knee”.
The South African wicketkeeper-batsman has said he will take a knee in a show of solidarity against racism.
De Kock’s decision to go against Cricket South Africa’s board’s orders led to his withdrawal and widespread condemnation.
The player had not spoken on the matter until Thursday’s statement, where he apologized, tried to explain his position and moved to offer an olive branch.
“I never ever wanted to make this a Quinton issue” de Kock’s statement read. “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.”
De Kock rationalized that players had only been informed of the board’s imposition on the morning of the game.
“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,” he said.
“When you are told what to do, with no discussion, I felt like it takes away the meaning. If I was racist, I could easily have taken the knee and lied, which is wrong and doesn’t build a better society.”
He added: “I won’t lie, I was shocked that we were told on the way to an important match that there 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 think it would of (sic) been better for everyone concerned if we had sorted this out before the tournament started. Then we could have focused on our job, to win cricket matches for our country.”
South Africa’s next World Cup game is on Saturday against Sri Lanka where de Kock could return to the XI.