The England and Wales Cricket Board, on Thursday (July 2), announced that the England players will be wearing ‘Black Lives Matter’ emblems on their shirts throughout the three-match Test series against West Indies, which is starting on July 8.
The ECB, explaining their decision, rejected any politicisation of the movement. Tom Harrison, ECB’s Chief Executive Officer said, “The England and Wales Cricket Board fully support the message that Black Lives Matter. It has become a message of solidarity and a drive for progress and societal change. There can be no place for racism in society or our sport, and we must do more to tackle it.
“Our support of that message is not an endorsement, tacit or otherwise, of any political organisation, nor the backing of any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity. We are aware of certain aspects of the movement that promote their own political views, and their actions are not supported in any way by the ECB and our players.”
The West Indies team will also be sporting the same logo and their captain – Jason Holder – earlier had called for harsher punishment against racism in cricket.
The emblem used will be the same as that used by all the 20 Premier League football clubs. It was designed by Alisha Hosannah, the partner of Troy Deeney, professional footballer and captain of Premier League side Watford Football Club. He was contacted by both the boards (ECB and CWI) and the ICC gave permission for the logo to be displayed on the collar.
“This moment is about unity. We are proud that our players will stand alongside those from the West Indies and wear a logo that embodies that philosophy. It is fitting that they do so in solidarity with athletes from the football world who wore it first. Our thanks go to Troy Deeney and his partner Alisha Hosannah, creator of the logo, who generously agreed to share it with us,” Harrison added. “We have a responsibility to ensure that cricket is truly a game for everyone. We will shortly set out further steps that build on the work we have already done to make cricket more inclusive and diverse in order to address some of the barriers which still exist for some communities
The decision, taken by ECB, was fully backed by the England cricketers who are currently playing an intra-England practice match at The Rose Bowl in Southampton. England’s Test captain Joe Root, like his West Indies counterpart, stressed the team’s empathy towards the cause and made it clear that there was no room for any kind of discrimination.
“It is important to show solidarity to the black community and to raise much needed awareness around the topics of equality and justice,” remarked Root, who will miss the first Test next week to be at the birth of his second child. “The England players and management are unified in this approach and will use the platform of international cricket to fully support the objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists.
“The majority of us do not understand what individuals from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) background have to go through when people make judgements because of the colour of their skin. As a group, we are learning about this and educating ourselves. There has to be equal opportunity and equal rights for all. We hope by making this stance we can play our part in standing shoulder-to-shoulder as a team and we hope that by continuing to raise awareness we can move towards a society in which the colour of your skin and your background has no bearing on your opportunities.
“It is very simple, we believe there is no room for racism or any form of discrimination, anywhere,” Root concluded.