West Indies great Michael Holding has criticised England cricket team’s “moment of unity” gesture in the ongoing Test series against New Zealand, saying it was not supporting Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement but giving subtle meaning of “all lives matter”.
England players wore T-shirts sporting messages against any racism, religious intolerance, sexism and other anti-discrimination slogans, having decided to not take the knee after the series against West Indies last year. Holding, who is a passionate advocate for equality in cricket and the wider community, feels the gesture is akin to saying “all lives matter” rather than supporting BLM movement.
“What this England (cricket) team are doing now with this ‘moment of unity’, that is not supporting Black Lives Matter,” Holding told ‘Sky Sports’. “What you are doing there is, when I say, ‘black lives matter’, you are telling me ‘all lives matter’,” the 67-year-old added.
Holding applauded England football team for “showing some backbone” by continuing to take the knee despite criticism. England’s footballers were booed and jeered by some fans for taking a knee in warm-up games ahead of the Euro Championship. However, they have pledged to continue the gesture.
“The footballers, Gareth Southgate (manager) and the England team, I applaud them for what they’re doing. They are getting a lot of stick for taking the knee, they’re getting booed, but they are showing some backbone. “They are showing some intestinal fortitude. They’re saying ‘we’re doing it because we know what we’re doing – not for a political movement, we’re doing it for humanitarian reasons’,” Holding added.
Following the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody in the USA last year, Holding had delivered an emotional and powerful message against racism, asserting that the black race has been dehumanised and its accomplishments wiped off from a history “written by people who do the harm.”
“I’m never going to talk about any political movement. I care about the three words: Black Lives Matter,” said Holding, who has written a new book ‘Why We Kneel, How We Rise’. “(We’ve got a chance) That is an expression my mother used with me when I was a kid. I see we have a chance, because I see movement.”