June 12, 2020 / 11:03 AM / a month ago

Cricket: Sammy says nickname controversy is opportunity to educate on racism

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Former West Indies captain Daren Sammy says he has accepted a former team mate’s explanation of a potentially racist nickname he was given at the Sunrisers Hyderabad and hopes the issue can be used to educate players about racism.

West Indian bowler Daren Sammy celebrates the wicket of James Hopes during the ICC Champions Trophy cricket match against Australia in Johannesburg September 26, 2009. REUTERS/Rogan Ward/Files

Earlier this week, the 36-year-old sought clarification from his former team mates over the nickname used for him when he was part of the Indian Premier League franchise from 2013-14.

Sammy said he did not know the meaning of a Hindi word that some unnamed Sunrisers team mates would call him and only became aware of its racial connotations after watching a TV show that discussed the issue.

“I’m please(d) to say that I’ve had a really interesting conversation with one of the guys and we are looking at ways to educate rather than focusing on the negatives,” Sammy tweeted.

“My brother reassured me that he operated from a place of love and I believe him.”

Separately in a video, Sammy advocated awareness to fight racism.

“It’s a great opportunity to educate people about certain things that have been said or done, that even though you don’t mean it in any way to be degrading to someone else, but the fact that it can be perceived to (be) that or it could mean that.”

The Sunrisers Hyderabad and Indian cricket board (BCCI) officials Reuters contacted declined to comment.

Several athletes have spoken out about racism in sport and society after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on May 25 after a white policeman knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis.

While none of India’s frontline cricketers have commented on the issue, soccer captain Sunil Chhetri stressed the need to confront any racist behaviour.

“Racism comes from ignorance,” Chhetri said in a statement issued by the country’s football federation.

“If I see someone being racist, I would get hold of them and explain to them why what they are doing is wrong,” said the striker.

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Toby Davis

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