West Indies coach Phil Simmons has revealed that he was subjected to racial abuse during his league cricket stint in England. Simmons was a vital cog in the Leicestershire squad which won the County Championship in 1996. He also played in various leagues in England in the 80s and 90s.
“I encountered quite a bit of racism up in the leagues. In county cricket, I haven’t really encountered that much. But I have encountered it in the leagues,” ESPNCricinfo quoted Simmons as saying.
“It’s not a nice thing to face. Especially in the leagues where you’re by yourself sometimes. It affected my wife when I was up there. It’s not a nice thing. I played in three or four different leagues. It was one particular league up in the northeast,” he added.
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Simmons has also confirmed that the West Indies squad will show their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement when the Test series against England begins. “We definitely are thinking about things that we can do to show our solidarity with the movement. We definitely have plans to show our unity and our backing to it,” Simmons said. The chats with the English are on-going and by the end of this week we’ll see what we can do together,” he added.
The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has gained momentum after the demise of an African-American man named George Floyd, following a police officer, later identified as Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck. Ever since Floyd’s demise, many sportspersons have come out to talk about their experience with racism.
Windies opening batsman Chris Gayle also said that he had faced racism, and added that it is a myth that the menace of racism exists just in football. Daren Sammy had also alleged racism within the SunRisers Hyderabad camp during 2014 IPL.
The Premier League had resumed its suspended season last week and all teams have been sending out a strong message to show solidarity with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. All teams have been taking a knee to show their support, while jerseys of all teams have ‘Black Lives Matter’ written on them.