Ex-South Africa star Boucher sorry for offensive songs after racism allegations

Mark Boucher has apologised for singing offensive songs and using derogatory nicknames for players of colour during his career as a cricketer for South Africa.

Boucher is currently the coach of the South African men's team, and is one of many senior figures in the sport to be caught up in the racism scandal engulfing the setup.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) have set up a Social Justice and Nation Building Committee (SJN) in response to the accusations made by Paul Adams and others, and Boucher's apology came as part of an affidavit he submitted to that committee.

Adams, a black former team-mate of Boucher, had accused the former wicketkeeper of being racist during Adams' time in the team. Adams claimed that racial slurs were made by the entire team when they sang songs about him.

Boucher's affidavit is 14 pages long and includes what he describes as a "general response" to the accusations of racism aimed at him and the wider culture of South African cricket.

Adams, who played Test cricket for South Africa between 1995 and 2004, alleges that the entire team referred to him with the racist moniker "brown s***", and that Boucher was very much a part of that group.

Boucher conceded that he had sung songs which included that horrendous nickname, saying that he "deeply regrets and apologises for the part I played in joining in with my team-mates in singing offensive songs or using offensive nicknames."

The 44-year-old insisted however that he did not make up the name, and that he couldn't remember who did. He has made himself available for one-on-one discussions with former team-mates in an effort to mend any damaged relationships.

Boucher's statement also noted that his past indiscretions came as a result of a lack of maturity and an institutional failure to give players a better understanding of how to act in the aftermath of the Apartheid system ending in South Africa.

Boucher said: "We were not only naive but were also ill-equipped to deal with the new environment in which we found ourselves.

"To my certain knowledge there had not been any briefing or discussion by CSA as to how we deal with the legacy of Apartheid, how players and management should deal with the additional pressures placed on them by the country and the media, how we ensure that there is equality, respect, empathy and inclusiveness in the team.

"There was no guidance, no culture discussions, no open fora and no-one appointed by CSA to deal with awkwardness or questions or pressures that were being experienced by the players and, in particular, by the players of colour."

Boucher has said that progress has been made with regards to the treatment of players of all races in the modern South African team.

In the wake of George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis in 2020, Boucher said he and his team had been involved in "intense and meaningful workshops and discussions about how to create an atmosphere of inclusiveness and a culture of respect and empathy between all players."

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