West Indies Test captain Jason Holder has said it is important for people to be embracing to all, referring to how even the nicest of cricketers like Hashim Amla have been subject to racist taunts in the past.

The issue of racism in cricket has been in the news lately, in the wake of protests across the world after the death of George Floyd, an African American man in Minneapolis on May 25. The 46-year-old restaurant worker died after being pinned to the ground with one police officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes.

In the aftermath, athletes from around the world have lent their voices to anti-racism movements. Most recently, former West Indies captain Darren Sammy had put out a strong message after finding out his nickname during his Indian Premier League stint was racist in nature.

“Look, as a player, you just got to be professional and shut it out, but some comments are such that it’s hard to block out. You know some of those comments sometimes make people retaliate,” Holder said during an Instagram chat titled Homerun With AV with sports commentator Arun Venugopal. The interaction happened in May, before the death of Floyd and subsequent statements from his compatriots Sammy and Chris Gayle.

Also read — Issue of racism in cricket: No better time for BCCI to initiate a dialogue, educate cricketers

Holder said that he had not faced such incidents so far but recounted incidents involving his peers.

“I haven’t personally had to bear the brunt of any of them, but I have seen things with people like Moeen Ali and Hashim Amla [who were subjected to racist attacks]. I have met Hashim Amla, I have played cricket with Hashim Amla. If you probably think I am a nice man, he is the ultimate nice guy, man. He is the nicest person that I have ever met, swear to God.

“And to hear people get down on Hashim and say things or even bring racial comments into it, it is just sad, man. It’s just sad to see the level of intelligence of people,” he added.

Holder, who reached England on Monday along with his teammates as cricket prepares to resume after a hiatus due to coronavirus pandemic, had also called for people to grow up and be embracing.

“I just hope that we could grow a bit more and not be sucked into such things. I think it’s just time enough that we grow as people, and just try to move on and be embracing to all. That’s the best way I could put it,” he added.