The first week of the ongoing ICC T20 Cricket World Cup was filled with major surprises and drama. Before any match, we saw the players kneeling down on the ground in one knee before they took the field, raising their hands in the air. For those who are unaware, this gesture is popularly called 'Taking The Knee' that is now seen as a symbol to protest against racism and inequality several people of colour or minority communities go through around the world.
Over the years, the gesture has found itself in several sporting events, from football to now cricket. A latest controversy showed only a handful of players in South Africa's cricket team taking the knee, while some did not. One of whom was Quinton De Kock, who refused to take the knee. This resulted in him not playing the match against the West Indies.
This move sparked a debate on the internet. The people were divided about its importance. In light of this, let's take a look at the history behind this much-talked about gesture.
How It Originated?
The history behind this gesture goes back to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Martin Luther King Jr. was the first person ever to take the knee in Alabama in 1965 to stand with the African-American protestors in the famous agitation. He immortalised this and it became an integral part of the community's history in the country.
In 2016, National Football League (NFL) player Colin Kaepernick, along with Eric Reid and Eli Harold bent down on one knee when the American national anthem played before the game. This was done to shed light on the police brutality instances that took place against black people in the country. According to Good To Know, that year alone saw atleast 232 African-American victims of racist police action against them, after which Americans took to the street stating the Black Lives Matter.
Since then, the move gained momentum over the years. It found place outside American Football as well. In 2020, teams taking part in the Euro 2020 tournament took the knee before their matches. Now, countries playing the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE are doing so, to stand against racism and for peace, equality and togetherness.
A 'Controversial' Gesture
Many around the world believe that 'taking the knee' has become a global symbol against racial inequality. However, several people do not support it, especially when it is done before a match. Former American president Donald Trump and many others criticised Kaepernick and others for the gesture. In England, Conservative politicians believed that this was a 'gimmick' that created 'division' among the players in the team. Indian-origin home secretary Priti Patel called it 'gesture politics', for which she received a lot of flak.
This gesture was marred with controversies in cricket as well. Before the India vs Pakistan game, the Indian cricket team was seen taking the knee as well. This was met with mixed reactions online. Many Indians criticised the team for taking a stand for an international cause, but otherwise staying quiet on issues that happen in the country. Indian skipper Virat Kohli explained the reason behind the gesture in the post-match press conference, saying that it was communicated to them by the management to do this.