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News24.com | 5 key takeaways from Quinton de Kock's statement: 'I'm deeply sorry'

It has been a difficult couple of days for South African cricket with emotions running high, and star batsman Quinton de Kock has been at the heart of it all. 

On Tuesday in Dubai, De Kock made international headlines when he made himself unavailable for selection, ignoring an instruction from the Cricket South Africa (CSA) board in refusing to take a knee in support of the fight against racism before the Proteas' T20 World Cup clash against the West Indies. 

The reaction, both in South Africa and abroad, was immense with uncertainty surrounding De Kock's international future given his position.

CSA & Quinton de Kock: Where things stand

 

On Thursday, however, De Kock released a lengthy statement in which he attempted to clarify his position while apologising for the damage caused. 

Here, we attempt to break down the statement into its key takeaways. 

1. The apology

De Kock apologised to his teammates and Proteas fans. He also said he meant no disrespect to the West Indies side, who have been ambassadors of taking the knee in international cricket.

De Kock added that he did not intend to make this a "Quinton issue".

"I am deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger that I have caused," he said. 

2. 'Happy' to take the knee moving forward

De Kock confirmed that talks had been conducted with the CSA board on Wednesday night, and that he was "more than happy" to take the knee moving forward. 

"I understand the importance of standing against racism, and I also understand the responsibility of us as players to set an example," he said.

"If me taking a knee helps to educate others, and makes the lives of others better, I am more than happy to do so."

3. Availability for rest of the World Cup

De Kock made it very clear that he wanted to play for South Africa as soon as possible. The Proteas are next in action on Saturday when they take on Sri Lanka in a crucial fixture in the context of the semi-final race. De Kock, naturally, is an exceptional player and one of South Africa's most potent batting weapons. The call will have to come from the selectors, but it looks like De Kock will be back in Proteas colours this weekend. 

"If he (Temba Bavuma) and the team, and South Africa, will have me, I would love nothing more than to play cricket for my country again."

4. WHY he didn't take the knee and dissatisfaction with CSA

De Kock says he has always sought to treat people equally in his life, and he knows in his heart of hearts that he is not racist. Why, then, would he not take a knee? 

In his statement, De Kock explains that he was operating under the previous instruction from CSA that players were free to show support in whichever way they felt best. De Kock explained how his background had helped him understand equality from a young age, and not just because of the BLM movement. 

"I didn't understand why I had to prove it with a gesture, when I live and learn and love people from all walks of life every day. 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 said.

De Kock was also clear in his frustration with CSA's handling of the situation. 

"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," he said.

"We had camps. We had sessions. We had zoom meetings. We know where we all stand. And that is together. 

"I think it would have been better for everyone concerned if we had sorted this out before the tournament started."

5. Thanks to team-mates, captain Bavuma

De Kock made a point of thanking his teammates, and captain Temba Bavuma in particular, for showing him support through what he described as an incredibly difficult period. Bavuma had said on Tuesday that De Kock remained part of the team, and that the players would give him a shoulder to lean on for whatever he needed. 

"I love every one of my teammates, and I love nothing more than playing cricket for South Africa," De Kock said.

"I just want to thank my teammates for their support, especially my captain, Temba. People might not recognise, but he is a flipping amazing leader. "