Former New Zealand cricketer Ross Taylor has spoken out about how racism has affected him and other New Zealand cricket players.
Taylor wrote in his new autobiography Ross Taylor Black & White that the sport was “a pretty white sport” in New Zealand. He also stated that he had encountered racism inside dressing rooms, which was probably perceived by those involved as “banter.” This was following his retirement from international cricket earlier this year. He is of Samoan descent on his mother’s side.
“Cricket in New Zealand is a pretty white sport. For much of my career I’ve been an anomaly, a brown face in a vanilla line-up,” Taylor wrote in an extract published by the New Zealand Herald.
“That has its challenges, many of which aren’t readily apparent to your team-mates or the cricketing public. Given that the Polynesian community is dramatically under-represented in the game, it’s probably no surprise that people sometimes assume I’m Maori or Indian.
“In many ways, dressing-room banter is the barometer. A team-mate used to tell me, ‘You’re half a good guy, Ross, but which half is good? You don’t know what I’m referring to.’ I was pretty sure I did. Other players also had to put up with comments that dwelt on their ethnicity.
“You wonder if you should pull them up but worry that you’ll create a bigger problem or be accused of playing the race card by inflating harmless banter into racism. It’s easier to develop a thick skin and let it slide, but is that the right thing to do?”
Taylor has discussed racially “insensitive” experiences he had while working with the New Zealand squad in other writings.
An NZC spokesperson told the New Zealand Herald: “NZC deplores racism, is a staunch supporter of the NZ Human Rights Commission’s ‘Give Nothing to Racism’ campaign, and is deeply disappointed Ross has been exposed to this type of behaviour. We’ll definitely reach out to Ross to discuss the matter.”