Headline: Cricket Australia Backs Players’ Right to Express Views, Expects Rule Compliance
Cricket Australia says players can share their personal opinions, but they should still follow the rules.
They spoke up because people were upset when Test cricketer Usman Khawaja wore shoes with messages like “Freedom is a human right” and “All lives are equal” written on them.
The 36-year-old player, who bats at the beginning of the game, wore those shoes the day before his team’s important practice session for the upcoming Test series against Pakistan. He plans to wear them during the actual match starting on December 14 at Perth Stadium.
After the Pakistan-born Australian player showed his support for Palestinians in Gaza by wearing those shoes, Cricket Australia released a statement. The board said, “We back our players’ ability to share their personal opinions.”
However, the board also wants him to follow the rules set by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The ICC has regulations that say players can’t show personal messages, and we expect the players to obey those rules.
Meanwhile, Australia’s captain, Pat Cummins, confirmed in a press conference that Khawaja won’t wear the shoes with the messages in the first Test against Pakistan.
Cummins mentioned that he spoke briefly with Khawaja, and he won’t be wearing them. He also pointed out the ICC rules, saying he wasn’t sure if Khawaja was aware of them before.
“Cummins added, “Uzzie doesn’t want to make too big of a fuss.
” However, Cummins supported Khawaja’s right to express his views through his actions. He also encouraged his teammates to have passionate views on different issues.
The ICC prohibits any messages during matches that involve politics, religion, or race.
Just four days ago, Khawaja posted a video on Instagram from the children’s charity UNICEF that focused on Gaza.
In his post, Khawaja, who is Muslim, asked, “Don’t people care about innocent humans being killed?
Is it because of the color of their skin that they are considered less important? Or is it the religion they follow?”
Khawaja emphasized, “These things should be irrelevant if you truly believe that ‘we are all equal’.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Australian Sports Minister Anika Wells stated that she believed Khawaja’s shoes did not violate ICC rules.
“I think he has done it in a peaceful and respectful way,” said Australian Sports Minister Anika Wells, as quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald.
Back in 2014, the ICC prohibited England all-rounder Moeen Ali from wearing wristbands that had the messages “Save Gaza” and “Free Palestine” during a home Test.