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Mthethwa’s comments on rugby players refusing to bend knee in support of #BlackLivesMatter ’unconstitutional’

by ZwemZa on August 23rd, 2020

Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa. File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

The South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) says Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa’s comments about the choice of eight South African rugby players not to “take the knee” before a club match in England in obeisance to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement amounts to a disturbing and inappropriate interference with the players’ freedom of speech and association.

The research and policy organisation said on Friday in a statement that Mthethwa has asked SA Rugby to make a pronouncement on the choice made by the eight players.

According to the statement, the minister suggested their actions amounted to “racist behaviour and showing racist attitude”, and that this “cannot be tolerated”.

While noting that the players were wearing T-shirts in support of “Rugby Against Racism”, he singled them out for the fact that they “didn’t kneel in support of the BLM movement”.

The IRR insists that Mthethwa has no right to demand that the players kneel. “Choosing not to kneel is not a sign of racism or any other odious behaviour the minister may want to allege, for many, kneeling is an act of faith to be taken only before God”, the statement said.

The organisation says a climate has been created to suggest that support for BLM is necessary to prove one is ‘anti-racist’, but this is both untrue and mischievous.

“Some say that supporting the idea of BLM is worthy, even if support of the movement is undesirable,” the IRR said.

“To have to justify that distinction is undesirable and unnecessary. Supporting “Rugby Against Racism” is an unambiguous expression of opposition to racism,” the IRR said.

Furthermore, the IRR said that Minister Mthethwa’s admonishments reflect a flagrant disregard of the players’ constitutional rights to freedom of belief, opinion, expression, and association and, above all, to dignity.

African News Agency (ANA)

From → African News

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