New Zealand great Ross Taylor has claimed that he faced racist behaviour inside the dressing room during his days playing for the Blackcaps.
The batter made the claims in his new autobiography titled Black & White.
Taylor alleges that racially insensitive comments regarding his heritage were part of the routine “banter” players and team management indulged in.
“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.
“In all probability, a Pakeha [white New Zealander] listening to those sorts of comments would think, ‘Oh, that’s okay, it’s just a bit of banter.’ But he’s hearing it as white person and it’s not directed at people like him. So, there’s no pushback; no one corrects them. Then the onus falls on the targets.
“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?”
His claims come as a shock to many considering the Blackcaps are considered an epitome of cricketing spirit both on and off the pitch.
Ross Taylor represented New Zealand in 112 Tests, 236 ODI’s and 102 T20 internationals scoring 7683, 8607 and 1909 runs respectively.
New Zealand cricket was quick to comment on the allegations with an NZC spokesperson telling 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.