After four months of no action due to the coronavirus, cricket made its comeback this week. England and West Indies squared off in a long and enduring test match.

For the first time, international cricket took a stance against institutional racism as players and coaches went down on one knee as a sign of respect and tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Moments before the first ball was bowled at the empty stadium, everyone on the field and around the field knelt and rose a fist in support of the movement. A Black Lives Matter logo was printed on the collar of the test shirts worn by players for both teams.

There was also a moment of silence in honor of those who have lost their lives due to the coronavirus and the loss of West Indies great Everton Weekes, who passed away on July 1. The West Indies squad has said that the Black Lives Matter movement has been a source of motivation for everyone.

The matches are being played with daily health checkups for everyone on the ground. Players are not allowed to use saliva to polish the ball to gain reverse-swing, and umpires are not officiating.

Currently live, England is leading the first test match by 170 runs against West Indies.

Holding Talks About Racism

Prior to the match, Jamaican cricket commentator and former West Indies cricketer Michael Holding stole the show as he spoke about racism that he experienced during his career.

“Racism is taught. No one is born racist,” he said. “The environment in which you grow, the society in which you live, encourages, and teaches racism.”

He went on to explain that he was never taught anything good about black people and the irony that Jesus Christ is white and blonde with blue eyes, which is seen as the most ideal and perfect human.

“History is written by the conqueror, not those who are conquered,” Holding said. “History is written by the people who do the harm, not by the people who get harmed.”

He believes that we need to go back and teach both sides of history and educate the entire human race. Only then can we stop racism.

Protests in Cricket

Although there have been cases of possibility to fight against prejudice and injustice in cricket, the sport always steered clear of getting politically linked when it came to solidarity and protest. The worst form of protest that was done in cricket was when cricketers and officials boycotted to host a country in home series.

For instance, the Board of Control for Cricket in India banned Pakistan from touring India in the aftermath of the terror attack in Mumbai in November. Also, the English team refusing to tour Zimbabwe as a means of protesting against the actions of dictator Robert Mugabe.

Players have worn black armbands to mourn the demise of a former cricketer or loved one. Englishman Moeen Ali was banned from wearing a wristband that read “Save Gaza” and “Free Palestine” because it seemed political.

English and West Indies players taking a knee in solidarity of the Black Lives Matter is meaningful to so many people around the world and can show cricket fans the importance of taking a stand.