Former West Indies captain and honorary citizen of Pakistan Darren Sammy has revealed that he was subjected to racial abuse in the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) dressing room when he played for the franchise in the 2013-14 editions of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
After watching Hasan Minhaj’s latest segment, in which the comedian talks about anti-blackness in South Asian, the cricketer expressed his anger upon realising the meaning of the word ‘kalu’ which he says was used to refer to him and Sri Lanka’s Thisara Perera when the pair played for SRH. However, he did not reveal who used to direct these slurs at him.
Following that, on Tuesday, Sammy released an Instagram video, saying those slurs came from players within the SRH camp and that he will be messaging them all to provide clarification and issue an apology.
“Knowledge is power. So recently I discovered a word that I was being called was not what it actually meant, I need some answers. So before I start calling out names I need these individuals to reach out and please tell me there’s another meaning to that word and when I was being called it, it was all in love,” read the post along with the video.
“I have played all over the world and I have been loved by many people, I have embraced all the dressing rooms where I have played, so I was listening to Hasan Minhaj as to how some of the people in his culture describe black people,” Sammy said in the video.
“This does not apply to everybody but I say this because of what I’ve experienced. After I found out a meaning of a certain word, I had said I was angry on finding out the meaning and it was degrading, instantly I remembered when I played for Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2013-14, I was being called the exact the same word which is degrading to us black people,” he added.
Sammy said that at the time when he was being called with the word, he didn’t know the meaning and he thought it was not degrading as his teammates used to laugh every time whenever he was called with that name.
“I will be messaging those people, you guys know who you are. I must admit at that time when I was being called using that word, I thought the word meant strong stallion or whatever it is and I saw no problem. I did not know what it meant. Every time I was called with that word, there was laughter at the moment. Me being a team man, I thought hey teammates are happy, so it must be something funny,” Sammy said.
“So now you can understand my frustration and my anger when it was pointed out to me that it wasn’t funny at all. It was degrading. I will be texting you guys and I will ask you as to when you called me with that name, did you all mean it in any bad way or in a degrading way? You repeatedly called me that word over and over again, to the point that I was even saying, that’s my name,” he continued.
Sammy said he expects an apology from all those who called him that because he considered them his brothers and friends.
“I have had great memories in all my dressing rooms, so all those who used to call me with that word, think about it, let’s have a conversation, if it was in a bad way then I would be really disappointed,” he added.
“I have always been one to build up the relationship or build up a team, not bring it down,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, an old social media post of India pacer Ishant Sharma has surfaced which has confirmed Sammy’s allegations.
Ishant had shared a group picture also featuring Sammy, on May 14, 2014, and used the word ‘kalu‘ for him.
The reaction from the West Indies all-rounder has come following the death of George Floyd, an African-American who last month died in police custody in the United States. Floyd, aged 46, died on May 25 after a police officer, held him down with a knee on his neck though he repeatedly pleaded, “I can’t breathe,” and “please, I can’t breathe”.