In the face of “too woke” criticism, the Australia cricket team, along with the West Indies, have ‘taken a knee’ in support of the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of the first Test in Perth on Wednesday.
In the moments before a ball was bowled in anger, the players and umpires kneeled together, some raising their fists, in a powerful and united statement to highlight racial inequalities.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Pat Cummins hits back at ‘woke’ critics.
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The Australian team has been in the spotlight recently, after captain Pat Cummins questioned Cricket Australia’s decision to partner non-sustainable brands such as the team’s main sponsor, Alinta Energy, and CA later parting ways with the power company.
Cummins pulled out of Alinta ads due to the company’s carbon footprint, but told reporters in October that he had not put pressure on CA to end the deal with Alinta although he believed players had a role in deciding which organisations they want to be associated with.
David Warner takes a knee before the start of play on day one of the first Test between Australia and the West Indies in Perth.
“It has always been a balance,” he said. “We have seen certain players make decisions based on religions, or certain foods they eat, where they won’t partner with specific partners.
“Every organisation has a responsibility to do what’s right for the sport and what they think is right for the organisation, and, I hope, society when it moves forward.
“It is a balance when you make decisions about who you are going to welcome into the cricket family.”
Cummins’ stance created an uproar from various political corners and business leaders, but he doubled down on his views yesterday and defended his image as the “woke” Australian captain.
“In this position, you’re always going to upset people,” he said.
“We’re cricket players, but you can’t leave your values at the door. People stand for different things.
“Taking a knee this week, we’re doing it out of respect for the West Indies, in support of equality.
“Anyone who says that’s a bad thing, I’m not too bothered about.”
Australia and the West Indies took a knee when the teams played in the Caribbean last year.
But the political statements have divided those who believe sport and politics should not mix ... and also upset the types who like using the word “woke” on social media.
“They “Take The Knee” that is the end of me watching cricket and I know many others who feel the same. Dragging Woke politics into cricket is going to be the downfall of the game. Get rid of Cummins and get a real captain,” one fan said.
However, Cummins also has his supporters: “If I hear one more ‘too woke’ comment I’ll (spew). Heaven help someone just being a decent person. Here’s a tip…if you call Pat Cummins “woke” you’re probably a tool.”
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