India’s top-ranked men’s singles player Sumit Nagal said he has understood what it was to face racism from his experience as he weighed in on the ongoing protests in the United States, adding that sportspersons should be more vocal about such issues.
Floyd died after a white policeman in Minneapolis held his knee on the handcuffed man’s neck for several minutes. The incident has sparked protests and riots in cities across the world and has been met with a strong reaction from American and international sporting icons such as Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Lewis Hamilton.
“What has made me speak out is I have faced racism. I have travelled the globe as a professional tennis player and experienced it myself. Some countries are worse when it comes to racism. It’s also prevalent in Germany [where he trains at the Nensel Academy]. I understand from my experience how people feel about it because I have been there,” Nagal wrote in the column.
“I have often been asked different things and singled out in a group merely because I’m darker. I have been questioned more every time I get out of the plane in a few countries because of my colour. These things have happened to me frequently. I’m very, very sure I will be picked again and again—because I know this is seen as normal,” he added.
The 22-year-old also mentioned the responsibilities athletes have to speak about matters of social injustice.
“Sportspersons must be more vocal about such issues. They are celebrities in their countries where people follow them. It will be really sad if they think talking about racism isn’t a good thing. I really hope people speak up because it just isn’t right. I’m not talking about any particular country – I’m talking about racism in the whole world. It’s not only about black or white; it’s about every type of racism,” he said.
Read the full column here