Players entitled to 'own beliefs and opinions'
NEWS: South Africa’s rugby players’ organisation, MyPlayers, has released a statement regarding movements that have dominated the headlines recently.
Last week SA Minister of Sport Nathi Mthethwa caused a stir when it was revealed that he had approached SA Rugby for ‘clarity’ over the failure of a host of SA players who failed to ‘take a knee’ in support of the #BLM movement before Premiership matches in England.
#SPOTLIGHT: Call for an investigation?
🗣️”One thing which cannot be tolerated is when somebody is displaying racist behaviour and showing racist attitude,”#Rugby #RugbyAgainstRacism #BLM @premrugby https://t.co/KYw6j04ntK
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) August 18, 2020
Mthethwa’s approach came after 11 Sale Sharks players chose to remain standing – with eight being South Africans, namely Coenie Oosthuizen, Akker van der Merwe, Jean-Luc du Preez, Lodewyk de Jager, captain Jono Ross, Dan du Preez, Faf de Klerk and Rob du Preez before the team’s Premiership restart match against Harlequins.
A few other South Africans also opted to remain standing in other fixtures.
There was an uproar even though the South African players and the rest of the Sale team had worn T-shirts supporting the fight against racism and have continued to do so for subsequent matches.
Now MyPlayers has shared their view on the promotion of public campaigns in rugby.
“In light of a number of recent campaigns in sport, including rugby, where individuals and teams have taken a stand on certain events and movements, MyPlayers has been asked for a formal statement and stance regarding these events and movements or causes,” said a statement from the organisation.
“As the representative body for all South African professional rugby players, MyPlayers is committed to respect, promote and fulfil the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom that are enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
“In the words of the Constitution, everyone has the right to life, has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected. Everyone is equal before the law and no one may unfairly discriminate against anyone on grounds such as race, gender, colour, sexual orientation, religion, belief, culture and language. As an organisation, MyPlayers is dedicated to a society that strives to achieve these rights for all citizens in all spheres of life.
“The Constitution also bestows various rights to freedom on its citizens, including the right to freedom of religion, belief and opinion, the right to freedom of association, as well as the right to freedom of expression. In line with the Constitution, MyPlayers respects these rights to freedom that the members of the Players’ Organisation have in respect of particular causes that they wish to support. The members are responsible and entitled to develop their own beliefs and opinions on any cause and should be allowed to promote them in a manner they deem fit.
“As a diverse and inclusive professional body that represents all South Africans and its communities when our members are on the rugby field playing for the Springboks and the various other national and provincial teams, MyPlayers has no intention and mandate to take a collective position on any cause that may lead to divisions among its members, rugby supporters and the public at large. We are often reminded of the immortal words of Nelson Mandela: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.”
“MyPlayers does not want to squander this opportunity to contribute to a South Africa that is united in diversity.
“In principle and conduct, the dedication of MyPlayers to a free, fair and just South Africa is resolute.”
#⃣REACTION: It was always going to be hot-blooded and predictably the first reaction from within the players’ ranks was a charged response
🗣️I will never take a knee to anyone else than GOD!#Rugby #BLM #sharethepassion @renaldobothma #StrongerTogether
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) August 20, 2020