Quinton de Kock: South Africa cricketer's apology - and why he missed T20 World Cup 2021 match vs West Indies
South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock took the decision to make himself unavailable for his country's T20 World Cup match against West Indies on Tuesday after refusing to take the knee.
Speaking at the toss, captain Temba Bavuma said that the 28-year-old withdrew "for personal reasons". The announcement came shortly after Cricket South Africa (CSA) issued a directive stating that all players should make the gesture in support of anti-racism.
The governing body’s statement read: "All players are expected to follow this directive for the remaining games of the World Cup.
"After considering all relevant issues, including the freedom of choice of players, the board had made it clear it was imperative for the team to be seen taking a stand against racism, especially given SA's history."
In the aftermath of De Kock’s withdrawal, the CSA said it would "await a further report from team management before deciding on next steps".
What has De Kock said on the matter?
The wicketkeeper has declined to take the knee in the past too.
De Kock stood with his hands behind his back during the show of solidarity during the limited-overs series against West Indies this summer.
Addressing his thoughts on that matter shortly prior, the South African told an online press conference: "My reason? I'll keep it to myself. It's my own, personal opinion.
"It's everyone's decision; no-one's forced to do anything, not in life. That's the way I see things."
Speaking in the aftermath of Tuesday’s match, however, De Kock expressed his remorse regarding his decision.
He said: "I would like to start by saying sorry to my team-mates, and the fans back home.
"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.
"Maybe some people don't understand that we were just hit with this on Tuesday morning, on the way to a game.
"I am deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger that I have caused."
He added: "I've been called a lot of things as a cricketer. But those didn't hurt. Being called a racist because of a misunderstanding hurts me deeply.
"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."
What have the CSA said on the matter?
Back in November, the CSA said players had three options to show their support for social equality: kneeling, raising a fist or standing to attention.
Ahead of Saturday’s T20 World Cup opener against Australia some South Africa players - but not all - took the knee.
The CSA then altered its stance on Tuesday, stating that it was important for the team to take "a united and consistent stand against racism".
Their statement read: "Concerns were raised that the different postures taken by team members in support of the BLM initiative created an unintended perception of disparity or lack of support for the initiative.
"CSA believes success both on the field and beyond the boundary will be guaranteed if all South Africans stand united to build a new innings based on the pillars of inclusivity, access and excellence."