As a former Gauteng (Transvaal) and SA cricketer, and having served on the board of the predecessor of the Gauteng Cricket Board (including on its disciplinary subcommittee), I can no longer remain silent regarding the inquiry initiated by Cricket SA (CSA) regarding statements made by David Teeger when accepting the Rising Star Award at the Jewish Achievers Awards event on October 22 (“Junior Proteas captain’s pro-Israel comments to be probed, says CSA”, November 26).
The decision by the CSA board to appoint an independent inquiry to determine whether Teeger breached either the CSA or Central Gauteng Lions codes of conduct, is in the main a result of a complaint (made three weeks after Teeger’s acceptance speech) by the Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA), which alleges that Teeger’s comments were “a provocative and inflammatory political statement”.
This from an organisation that on October 7, after the barbaric attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas, issued a statement saying “the invasion into apartheid Israel is an encouraging well-orchestrated Palestinian military campaign”, and “victory to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. Victory to the freedom fighters of Hamas and Islamic Jihad”.
If Teeger’s statements (which were publicised in the SA Jewish Report and shared widely on social media, and I suspect were known to at least some members and/or executives at CSA) were deemed by CSA to be a breach of the codes of conduct, why did it wait a month before doing so, and then only after being requested to do so by the PSA?
Teeger’s statements, made at a private event and in his private capacity, were made in support of Israel and its soldiers, who were defending Israel after barbaric attacks by Hamas, which resulted in the death of hundreds of innocent civilians.
There have been a number of prominent — in fact, far more prominent than 18-year-old Teeger — cricketers who have represented (and still represent) SA who, exercising their freedom of speech, have over the years publicly and on various social media platforms demonstrated and vocalised their support for Palestine and the Palestinian people. Were these statements of support considered by the CSA to be “provocative and inflammatory”? Did it contemplate instituting an inquiry into these statements?
Regardless of the outcome on the inquiry, the fact that CSA has chosen to go ahead with it endorses the stance taken by the PSA in support of Hamas and against Israel and will encourage bullying and further anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiment.
As much as I was looking forward to attending the upcoming Test between SA and India at Newlands, and some of the T20s and ODIs, and while I will continue to support the Proteas (including those players who have shown support to Palestine and the Palestinian people), I will not be there (nor at any other match that falls under the auspices of the CSA).
I call on all of those who support Teeger’s right to freedom of speech and believe that the stance taken by CSA smacks of bias and double standards (including his teammates), to likewise express their opposition to the CSA’s handling of this matter.
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