Times Now’s Shaming Of Indian Cricketers In The Name Of Martyrs Is Not Only Wrong But Dangerous

Pooja Chaudhuri

June 20th, 2017 / 7:10 PM

Virat Kohli Times Now

Image Credit: beinsports

India’s ICC Championship loss to Pakistan on Sunday infuriated thousands of supporters who not only took to Twitter to express their agony but also burnt photographs of our players in public and broke TV sets in frustration. In Ranchi, additional security personnel had to be deployed outside MS Dhoni’s house out of fear of public outrage.

In the wake of the animosity, the popular English news channel Times Now started a trend on Twitter with the hashtag – #CricketersForgetBraves.

The media house took to the microblogging site to post the following:





The topic was also raised in the channel on its popular Newshour Debate.



As Times Now believed that the shaming on social media and TV wasn’t enough, the media house hounded Indian cricketers in public asking, “Why didn’t you copy the hockey team and pay tribute to martyrs?”




What is Times Now talking about?

On Sunday, the same day as the ICC Champions Trophy, India and Pakistan played against each other in the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, where India defeated our neighbour by 7-1.

In addition to winning the game, the Indian players made a statement – the team wore black armbands condemning the recent attacks on Indian soldiers along the Jammu and Kashmir border.

Times Now wanted Indian cricketers to follow the steps of our Hockey team – hence, the public naming and shaming across different media portals.


What Times Now doesn’t know (read: is deliberately trying to instil hatred in people’s minds by misleading them):

The ICC rules and regulations say: Players and team officials shall not be permitted to wear, display or otherwise convey messages through arm bands or other items affixed to clothing or equipment (“Personal Messages”) unless approved in advance by both the player or team official’s Board and the ICC Cricket Operations Department. Approval shall not be granted for messages which relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes.


You can read the full guidelines here, under Clothing and Equipment Regulations – Effective 22 September 2016 – keep

Not only in cricket, but players participating in any international sporting event CANNOT make a political statement while on the field.

In the 1968 Summer Olympics held in Mexico City, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, two black Olympians from the United States, won gold and bronze, respectively, in the 200-metre race. Once on the podium, Smith and Carlos gave the “Power to the People” salute. International Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage suspended Smith and Carlos from the U.S. team for making a political statement during the ceremony, and they voluntarily moved out of the Olympic village.

After India’s ICC loss on Sunday, Narinder Batra, President of the International Hockey Federation and former President of Hockey India, posted a series of hateful messages on Facebook in retaliation to a Kashmiri separatist leader congratulating the Pakistani team’s victory.


Dr Narinder Batra’s post which is now deleted

In response to Dr Batra’s post, International Hockey Federation (FIH) issued an apology, saying, “The FIH is aware of recent comments made by FIH President Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra via his personal social media channels. The FIH would like to emphasise that these comments were the personal thoughts of Dr Batra and not representative of the views of the FIH. The FIH would like to apologise for any offence that these comments may have caused. At the request of FIH, these comments have now been deleted and the matter will be reviewed internally in line with our governance processes.”

Dr Batra later deleted the post because any person representing a country or a sporting federation cannot make political and religious comments. But Times Now conveniently evaded mentioning this fact. In a press release, Dr Batra also issued an apology to the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) for his bias, “I would like to offer my sincere regrets to PHF and all concerned for using my social media page to make inappropriate comments.My comments were made on the spur of the moment and were an emotional outburst. This will be a lesson for me as I understand I have hurt the feelings of many people as well as placed the FIH in a difficult position…I can reassure PHF that such thing will not happen in the future.”

What needs to be understood here is that even if the Indian Hockey team had the right intention, protesting a political issue while playing on the field is not allowed. The motive behind Times Now’s abominable journalism was to start a discourse on a topic inspired by hate. It played with people’s flawed sense of nationalism to increase its television rating points. The media house created a story which never existed in the first place to enrage people who were already disappointed with India’s loss to Pakistan. The match, which was nothing more than a game, was given the status of war.


Why is Times Now’s hounding of Indian cricketers not only wrong but also dangerous?

International sporting events, more than encouraging competition, are held to mend fences and rise above the differences in culture and nations. They are meant to bring together people from different races who represent their countries in a harmonious environment.

Sporting events transcend politics and prejudice. Since time immemorial, they are used to make conciliatory international gestures. And cricket is no different.

Times Now, in order to appease a few with sensational news, has disrespected what sports stand for; and while doing this, the media house has not only erred but has set out a dangerous path for sports enthusiasts.

There is no doubt that cricket is akin to a religion in India – one which stirs the passions of millions and also induces them to resort to violence in the name of patriotism. We are currently living in a time when a few cricket supporters are damaging public property and naming and shaming players for losing matches. In such a situation, two options lie with the Indian media – either to educate the mass about the value of sports and the harms in portraying pseudo patriotism when the country loses, or to profit out of the jingoism.

The fact that Times Now, one of the most popular news channels in the country chose the latter, shows the little regard the mainstream media house has for journalism. Every day when we flip through the pages of any newspaper, we read reports of people being lynched to death because of false messages spread on Whatsapp or Facebook. Amidst this, Times Now has taken it upon itself to hold debates and discussions, and hound cricketers on their failure to condemn the death of our soldiers while on the field – attacking them virtually.

It grieves all of us that our soldiers die protecting the country, but taking this emotion as the base to make profits and using hate to spread a propaganda is principally wrong. There might be a few thousand who are drawn to Times Now’s show of false patriotism and they too start harassing our players – this is where the line between patriotism and the love for a sport is blurred. 

The only job of journalists is to inform. They are not supposed to shape how the citizens of a country think. Citizens should be served with all possible information so that they form a view of their own; and in this endeavour, any wrong information served by a media house is dangerous and damaging.


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