Flat White

Who are you calling racist?

28 January 2021

6:35 PM

28 January 2021

6:35 PM

So it turns out that six men ejected from the third cricket test in Sydney for racist conduct weren’t racist after all

They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time – by which I mean Australia in 2021, where an allegation of racism is as good as proof; and where self-righteous preeners will gladly denounce their fellow man if it means a chance to parade their own anti-racism credentials.

Three weeks after spectators were escorted from their seats and thrown out of the Sydney Cricket Ground by police for hurling racist insults at an Indian player, investigations by both Cricket Australia and NSW Police have found that the men did no such thing.

Well, Indian fans in the crowd could have told them that. In fact, they did.

But eyewitnesses were ignored as television cameras zoomed in on the latest examples of what we are continually told is rampant racism in Australia.

Seven Network cricket commentator Lisa Sthalekar said: “So disappointed with a very small part of the SCG fans, totally embarrassed.”

Well no.

Embarrassing was the way in which everyone raced to tar and feather a group of sports fans whose only crime was to not have thought to wear body cameras to the cricket in order to protect themselves from baseless charges.

Nine Network news showed what the reporter called “disgraced spectators” being led from their seats after play was stopped for ten minutes when Indian fast bowler Mohammed Siraj complained that he was being racially taunted by the crowd.

Nine news might have waited for charges to be laid before deciding the men were “disgraced”, but who has time for such technicalities when the witch hunt is already well underway?

Cricket Australia’s Head of Integrity and Security, Sean Carroll, immediately released a statement, saying “Cricket Australia condemns in the strongest possible terms all discriminatory behaviour. If you engage in racist behaviour you are not welcome in Australian cricket.”

One might have imagined that “integrity” meant not condemning in the strongest possible terms something that never happened in the first place.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd immediately took to twitter, describing the men as “boneheaded racists”.

“Cricket Australia should throw the book at these fools,” he thundered.

(How did you refer to Chinese, Kevin?)

NSW Labor leader Jodi Mackay rushed to join what was rapidly becoming a social media pile-on.

“India is watching how we respond to the racial slurs being directed at their cricketers. Ban those responsible for life. I stand with the Indian team.”

It’s a pity Ms Mackay didn’t stand with her beleaguered constituents. Or at least wait until the accusation was confirmed before advocating life bans for men who would later be found to have done nothing wrong. 

But the principle of innocent until proven guilty does not apply to charges of racism since any hesitation to condemn those accused is itself taken as just another form of racism.

Indeed, when NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham tweeted that perhaps the cricket fans had not done what they were accused of doing, he was — right on cue — accused of defending racism.

But what is surely as bad as racism is wrongly accusing people of racism.

How is it that a group of mates can go to the cricket, be forcibly removed from seats they paid for while being shamed on national television and on social media, only for authorities to belatedly announce three weeks later that the men didn’t in fact do anything wrong?

Will they get an apology?

If people were calling for a life ban for something that didn’t happen, perhaps the men deserve life membership for what did happen.

Perhaps the next time our woke cricketers perform their bare foot circle ceremony to contemplate victims of racism, they could spare a thought for their own fans who were victims of the so-called anti racists.

Amazingly, Cricket Australia were still insisting that racist comments were made by the crowd, even as they admitted the men removed from the game were not the culprits and that they had no idea who the culprits were.

Well they would say that, wouldn’t they. Because the alternative – that Aussies aren’t obviously racist  – just doesn’t fit the narrative.

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