An old social media post by India pacer Ishant Sharma showed that former West Indies captain Darren Sammy was addressed with a racist nickname during his Indian Premier League stint with Sunrisers Hyderabad, for which he is now demanding an apology.
In a video posted on Instagram, the two-time T20 World Cup-winning captain revealed he was called a word which he recently realised is a derogatory term to describe black people. Sammy has been calling out racism in cricket, adding his voice to the protests after the death of George Floyd in US.
While commenting on the protests over African-American Floyd’s death at the hands of the police, Sammy had spoken about being called ‘k***u’ while he was in India.
Ishant, part of the SRH squad from 2013 to ‘15, had shared a group picture on Instagram (screenshot above) also featuring Sammy, on May 14, 2014, using the k***u nickname to identify the West Indian in it.
Sammy said having understood the meaning only now after watching Hasan Minhaj’s show, he was disappointed with his teammates, who addressed him by that nickname during his 2013-2014 stint with SRH. The West Indies player had referred to himself with the nickname in an old social media post to wish VVS Laxman – part of the SRH backroom staff – on his birthday.
“I was listening to Hasan Minhaj [Indian-American comedian and actor] talking about how some of the people in his culture view or describe black people,” Sammy said in his latest Instagram post.
“I was angry after listening to him describing a word that they use to describe black people, which he was saying is not in a good way and it was degrading. Instantly I remembered when I played for Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2013 and 2014, I was being called the exact same word that he described,” he added.
Sammy demanded an apology from his teammates, asking them to reach out to him.
“All those who used to call me that, you guys know yourselves... Reach out to me, let’s have a conversation. Because, if it was in any way, shape or form what Minhaj said it meant, I’m very disappointed,” he said.
“I will be messaging those people. You guys know who you are.”
“I must admit, at the time in which I was being called that, I did not know what it meant. I thought it meant strong stallion or whatever it is, and I saw no problems with it because I was ignorant to the fact of what it meant, I thought it meant something else, something uplifting,” he had added in his message.
One of Sammy’s teammates at that time, former India pacer Irfan Pathan, said he couldn’t recall a discussion on any racist comments against the West Indian in 2014.
“There was no discussion as such in the team meetings that racist comments were made against him. But from what I have seen is that our cricketers from south India are frequent targets of racial abuse when they come to play in the north,” he told PTI.
“It has happened in Baroda also and we have seen things ourselves and I have intervened to stop it but these have happened with our own cricketers (domestic),” he said.
PTI also reported that Ishant did not respond to calls and messages, while the franchise too has not responded so far.
(With PTI inputs)